Agriculture and the Environment:

Information on and Characteristics of Selected Watershed Projects

RCED-95-218: Published: Jun 30, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the effects of agricultural production on water pollution, focusing on lessons learned from nine innovative, successful watershed projects that reduced such pollution.

GAO found that: (1) the watershed projects ranged from 5 acres to 150 million acres and involved both surface water and groundwater resources; (2) the watershed projects have received an estimated $514 million in federal funds since 1995; (3) all nine watershed participants stressed the need for flexibility in the kinds of financial and technical assistance provided by federal agencies; (4) the watershed participants were able to adopt local approaches to watershed management, since the watersheds had different characteristics; and (5) project participants at the local level emphasized that the keys to reducing agricultural pollution are to build citizen cooperation through education, involve stakeholders in developing project goals, and tailor project strategies.

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