In 2011 the USDA selected the Monterey Bay region as a pilot project area for the White House's America's Great Outdoors Initiative. The purpose of the Monterey Bay America’s Great Outdoors Initiative is to work together to identify partnership opportunities and support actions for natural resource protection and enhancement that achieve water quality protection and publicize voluntary stewardship and collaborative regulatory planning in the watersheds that drain to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. On June 17, 2011 Congressman Sam Farr, USDA Deputy Undersecretary Ann Mills, NRCS State Conservationist Ed Burton, MBNMS Superintendant Paul Michel, and USFS Deputy Regional Forester Ron Ketter came together with roughly 100 representatives of diverse resource conservation agencies and interest groups to kick-off the initiative. The community meeting was an opportunity for diverse interests to provide input on the importance of America's working landscape and outdoor recreational resources around the Monterey Bay, and to identify critical needs and partnership opportunities to maximize the benefits to natural resources and communities. This input has been synthesized into a Work Plan for the Monterey Bay America's Great Outdoors Initiative.
Since then, the NRCS has advanced the AGO Monterey Bay Conservation Initiative effort by securing additional federal cost-share dollars to fund relevant conservation work in the Monterey Bay Region. In fiscal years 2011 and 2012 the NRCS allocated nearly $2.8M in additional EQIP dollars to support conservation practices through over 80 contracts with farmers and ranchers in the region.
A working group led by the MBNMS coordinates this AGO effort. The working group recently held a community working session to identify priority subwatersheds (based on resource concerns, collaborative feasibility, and potential leverage) to direct future NRCS and other agency funding in 2013. The meeting on July 16, 2012 brought together 30 local leaders representing federal resource management agencies, special districts, environmental and agricultural non-governmental organizations, agricultural industry, and research institutions. Through this working session, we identified priorities and action strategies for watershed-scale collaborative projects which could leverage the NRCS funding to catalyze other agency and partner involvement. We discussed regional ranking criteria and methods for measuring results.
Access the MB AGO Work Plan here.
View photos related to the MB AGO here.
View watershed prioritization outcomes from July 16, 2012 here.
Learn about the While House's America's Great Outdoors Initiative here.
AGO Funding Opportunities
For more information or to get involved, contact Lisa Lurie at 831-420-3662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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