State and federal officials back new Rio Grande watershed conservation plan | SummitDaily.com

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State and federal officials back new Rio Grande watershed conservation plan

DENVER – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar announced plans Thursday to work with local governments and landowners to protect air and water quality and prevent erosion.

The goal is to help conserve irrigation water and reduce ground water withdrawal from the Rio Grande Basin.

In 2011 the U.S. Department of Agriculture partnered with 500,000 farmers and ranchers on agreements to protect their land.

The Rio Grande begins in Colorado and flows 1,900 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. In 1968, the river was one of the first eight rivers Congress designated into the National Wild and Scenic River System to protect its resources.

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