Yesterday, the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts (IASCD) Board of Directors sent a letter to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Division expressing concern for water monitoring being cut from 319 grant funds. Water monitoring is a crucial part of the 319 grant process as it shows the numerous successes of Best Management Practice (BMP) implementation.
“Water monitoring is a critical part of the 319 grant process, and allows our water experts to show how the best management practices are improving water quality,” said Kit Tillotson, IASCD Vice-President. “The possible loss of water monitoring in the 319 grant process could severely damage the program, and adversely impact the water quality work done by our individual conservation districts.”
Idaho has had a number of successes because of the 319 grant program. For example, the Cascade Reservoir was suffering from algae blooms, resulting in poor fish habitat, and impairing recreational use of the reservoir. Water quality studies identified phosphorus as the main source of water degradation.
During Phase II Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) identified a reduction goal for point source loading of 4,455 kilograms per year total phosphorus. This project continues to rely on water monitoring to show how the BMPs decreased phosphorus and chlorophyll concentrations each year since 1994.
You can read the full text of the letter by clicking here.