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Celebrating Clean Water and Partnership on Earth Day in Nevada

For more than two years the Yerington Paiute Tribe has been unable to drink the water from its taps due to arsenic and uranium contamination.  Furthermore, the tribe and its lessee, Rite of Passage training academy, were under pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for being out of compliance with the Clean Water Act, and substantial fines were looming. Read more »

USDA Rural Development-Kansas Celebrates Earth Day With The City of Chetopa

By Harold Alford, Public Information Coordinator, Kansas

Last week as we celebrated the anniversary of Earth Day, we remembered that it is critical that we protect our environment for future generations. In each of the past 40 years, communities and individuals throughout our Nation have taken one day out of the year, Earth Day, to celebrate and initiate actions that preserve our planet.

This year, to mark Earth Day in Kansas, USDA Rural Development celebrated with the City of Chetopa, USD #505 Chetopa – St. Paul (School District), local business, and the community.

Kim Juenemann, Superintendant for USD #505 Chetopa – St. Paul remarked, “Chetopa Elementary has annually participated in one or more Earth Day activities.  We were very pleased to be part of the USDA’s efforts in creating a dual celebration between our school and the city of Chetopa.  Chetopa Elementary students will also be participating on May 14th to continue our celebration of Earth Day at which time they will be completing activities at our OWLS (Outdoor Wetland Learning Site) location.”

Local grocery, Chetopa Foods, has provided grocery bags for the K-8 grade kids to decorate with Earth Day or environmental theme drawings. At the event held in the Chetopa K-12 School Building, the children returned the grocery bags back to Chetopa Foods for distribution to the community, to share the art work and messages commemorating Earth Day.

As part of the celebration, USDA Rural Development presented the City of Chetopa with a Certificate of Recognition for its efforts to protect the environment, with the planned wastewater infrastructure improvements.  Funding for the City’s project, a $3,000,000 loan provided through the Agency’s Water & Environmental Program, was selected to be funded by federal appropriations, provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (Stimulus Funds).  Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreements, and the letter of conditions.

City Clerk Toni Crumrine said, “Using USDA Rural Development funds to make improvements and repairs to our sanitary sewer system will allow us to provide a safe and healthy environment for the residents of our community.  As with all small communities, Chetopa needed to find the most economical way to obtain funds to make these improvements that will benefit our city at a cost that our citizens can afford.”

“USDA Rural Development’s Water & Environmental Program is one of the most important community and economic development efforts this Agency administers.  These USDA funds, combined with the Agency’s technical assistance which supports local leadership, helps make these critically needed services a reality.  Water is the most basic need to help support community and economic development in rural Kansas.  These valuable USDA programs promote economic growth and enhance the quality of life for the area residents served by these projects and all of Kansas,” commented State Director Patty Clark.

hildren from USD #505 Chetopa – St. Paul decorate grocery shopping bags for distribution by the local grocery as part of the USDA Rural Development Earth Day Event in Chetopa, Kansas.
Children from USD #505 Chetopa – St. Paul decorate grocery shopping bags for distribution by the local grocery as
part of the USDA Rural Development Earth Day Event in Chetopa, Kansas.

An Exciting Project with Many Active Partners

In 1999, Yreka High School in Yreka, California received funds from a Forest Service Grant (Partners in Flight Program) to enhance their agriculture and natural resource program and provide wildlife habitat on school grounds. These funds were used to build a songbird garden, purchase fencing, materials for an irrigation system, and a greenhouse structure. The students and instructors constructed the fence, irrigation system and the greenhouse. Read more »

Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager Observes Earth Day by Announcing Water System Funding in Rural Colorado

  Written by Amy Mund,  Public Information Coordinator USDA Rural Development-Colorado

Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager joined Colorado Rural Development State Director Jim Isgar in Woodland Park earlier this week to celebrate Earth Day.  Tranquil Acres Water Supply, a small rural community of 60 users received $564,700 in USDA water and environmental program loan and grant funding to help repair existing water lines and to upgrade the system.  The entity has been facing severe reliability issues for several years because the original system was placed too shallow for the area.  Several board members attended as well as representatives from Senator Udall and Senator Bennet’s offices.

Homeowners present at the event noted they are excited that once the system is operational, they will not have leaking, freezing pipes to deal with and others will have the opportunity to hook up to the system.  The entity hopes to break ground in July 2010.

Pictured (left to right) is John Dover, honorary utility board member, Ron Weien, Board President and Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager.
Pictured (left to right) is John Dover, honorary utility board member, Ron Weien, Board President and Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager.

NRCS – A Legacy of Conservation: 75 Years of Helping People Help the Land

Morning fog gave way to sunny skies yesterday in Hillsborough, New Jersey, on Earth Day as representatives from Duke Farms and NRCS met with families of Duke Farms employees, local leaders and members of the press to highlight the conservation work being done at the farm. Read more »

USDA Rural Development celebrates Earth Day in Kentucky with a Tree Planting Ceremony and Funding Announcement for a Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

By Katherine Belcher, USDA Rural Development Public Information Coordinator

Tom Fern, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky, was in Monticello, Ky., on Thursday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by planting Dogwood trees and announcing with Mayor Kenneth Catron a $7.1 million loan and grant for an upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.  Funding is provided through USDA Rural Development’s water and environmental program.

The wastewater system improvement project will upgrade the plant to meet Kentucky requirements and also improve the water quality of nearby Elk Spring Creek.

“Earth Day calls on all of us to do our part to create a cleaner, safer environment, and today we celebrate a project that will produce a cleaner, safer wastewater collection system for the residents of Wayne County,” said Fern. “The many upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant will improve residents’ health and wellness and overall quality of life.”

There were many special guests in attendance, including Donna McClure from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s office; Regina Crawford from U.S. Senator Jim Bunning’s office; Lanette Girdler from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers’ office and State Representative Ken Upchurch. Also joining in the festivities were local business and community leaders, bankers, engineers and emergency responders.

“We really appreciate the great working relationship we have with Rural Development and the people of Wayne County are grateful for the many wonderful projects they have made possible in this community,” said Mayor Catron.

Monticello’s wastewater treatment plant serves more than 2,500 customers in rural Wayne County, one of Kentucky’s persistent poverty counties and part of the Appalachian chain.

In Observance of Earth Day, USDA Rural Development staff participated in a tree planting in Monticello, Ky., on Thursday. Those pictured include, from left, Vernon Brown, RD Utilities program director; Robert Dunn, RD Community Programs Specialist; Mayor Kennth Catron; RD State Director Tom Fern; Lanette Girdler from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers’ office; and Barry Turner, RD Loan Specialist.