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USDA to spend $59 million on Miss. River clean up

Published On: Feb 15 2013 06:40:05 AM CST
MINNEAPOLIS -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it's spending another $59 million this year on an initiative that works with farmers and other landowners to reduce pollution in the Mississippi River basin.

The agency says the new funding raises its total investment in the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds initiative to about $289 million since 2010.

The initiative works with farmers and landowners to encourage voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says in a statement to The Associated Press that the program is an example of how voluntary conservation practices in small watersheds can help improve a larger river system by reducing sediment and nitrogen runoff.

The USDA plans to issue an official announcement later today.

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  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

    Nearly 500 plush animals were donated Tuesday, a Learning Shop spokeswoman said. The Madison store's effort is part of a larger initiative through the Bears for Humanity organization. 

    Photos by Doug Wahl

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