Local SWCD Completes Tillage Transect Survey
Employees with the Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District (RISWCD) spent two days last week traveling throughout the rural portions of Rock Island County completing a windshield survey of tillage systems used on cropland. RISWCD employees Rich Stewart, Sarah Fitzgerald, and Augustana student intern Morgan Anderson reviewed 464 pre selected points within the County. Traveling along this set route, information at each point was gathered including: present crop type, previous year crop type, tillage system used, crop residue percentage as well as whether or not ephemeral erosion or a cover crop was present.
The amount of residue/cover left on the surface of a field has a direct correlation to erosion control. Farmer’s that utilize mulch-till or no-till farming systems leave more residue/cover after planting which in turn reduces the amount of soil material leaving their fields. These and other best management practices are being adopted voluntarily by Midwestern farmers in an effort to reduce the amount of nitrates and phosphates entering nearby water sources. These excess nutrients can contribute to lower water quality in streams, rivers, and lakes.
No landowner or farmer information is ever recorded during these transect surveys. The survey is simply a snapshot to help conservation agencies and their partners to determine trends in crop type, tillage and residue levels, as well as to determine over all soil loss and whether or not use of cover crops is wide spread within the county.
Rock Island County’s information is sent to the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and the Conservation Tillage Information Center (CTIC) where they collect data from all 97 SWCD’s transect surveys. The CTIC uses the information to determine trends in conservation tillage used on a state and national level. The IDOA is gathering information on a state level to determine tillage and cover crop levels in priority watersheds in Illinois. Part of Rock Island is in the Lower Rock River priority watershed.
What is Palmer amaranth?
Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) is a problematic annual broadleaf weed in the amaranth genus. It has several common names including carelessweed, dioecious amaranth, Palmer’s amaranth, Palmer amaranth and Palmer’s pigweed.
Palmer amaranth is native only to the Southwest and is considered a weed throughout the country. Field staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, their partners, as well as farmers and landowners are working to eradicate these infestations before they spread to new areas.
Why the concern?
Palmer amaranth is a very fast growing weed that has spread out of native areas. Populations have developed resistance to multiple classes of herbicides with different modes of action, including glyphosate, making it very difficult and expensive to control, especially on productive farmland. It also is a highly competitive weed, and has been shown to be the most competitive of the pigweed species.
Palmer amaranth has an extended germination and emergence window, rapid growth rates and high water use efficiency, and it produces large quantities of seed. It is a very prolific seed producer, producing up to 250,000 seeds from one plant. Palmer amaranth has a fast growth rate of approximately 2─3 inches per day and commonly reaches heights of 6─8 feet, greatly inhibiting productive crop growth.
Yield losses have been reported up to 91% in corn and 79% in soybeans. The weed can also compete with and decrease other agricultural crop production. Palmer amaranth can also be toxic to livestock animals due to the presence of nitrates in the leaves.
SAVE THE DATE: 2017 QUAD CITIES POLLINATOR CONFERENCE
RiverCenter, Davenport, IA | September 13-14, 2017
Wednesday, September 13 from 1-8:30 p.m. (Optional pre-conference workshops in the morning from 8:30-11:30)
Thursday, September 14 from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Dinner Keynote: Dr. Doug Tallamy, Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware and “Bringing Nature Home” Author.
With planning committee members from Nahant Marsh; Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever; Rock Island Soil and Water Conservation District; Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District; Trees Forever; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Wallace’s Garden Center.
Our informational sessions will focus on the following topics: Bees, Butterflies & Beyond; Woodlands & Wetlands; and the Human Component. Our conference will conclude with opportunities to participate in community conservation projects.
A workshop for Urban Erosion and Sediment Control will be held February 14, 2017 at Jumer’s Hotel in Rock Island. Topics include:
-NPDES Permit Functions and Updates,
IL EPA Representative
-“The Importance of Pre-Construction Meetings”
Erica Williams, City of Moline
– “De-watering Best Management Practices and Tracking Solutions”
Dan Salsinger, HanesGeo
– “The Cost of Non-Compliance: Developing A Storm Water Program”
Casey Perry, Christopher B. Burke Engineering.
– “Compliance Is Easier”
City of Rockford
The workshop is being coordinated by representatives of the Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District, City of Moline, City of Rock Island, Rock Island County and Christopher B. Burke Engineering.
To make a reservation, visit:
For more information contact Rich Stewart at (309) 764-1486, Ext. 3 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It is with great excitement that the Rock Island Soil and Water Conservation District announces the approval of an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency 319 Grant for Copperas Creek Watershed. The grant was approved on the third submission of the application. Copperas Creek Watershed is located in the southwestern portion of Rock Island County and with area within Drury, Buffalo Prairie, and Edgington Townships.
This IL EPA 319 Grant will provide cost share assistance to landowners within Copperas Creek Watershed to address natural resource concerns and improve water quality throughout the entire watershed. Targeted projects include stream bank stabilization, filter strips, grade stabilization structures, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, as well as the development of educational and monitoring programs.
Please contact the Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District at (309) 764-1486 Ext. 3 or email@example.com with any questions you may have or if you are interested in submitting an application. The Rock Island Soil and Water Conservation District is accepting applications for project cost share at this time!
Save The Dates- Upcoming Row-Crop Ag Programs
January 6th, 2017: Bi-State Crop Advantage Conference, Burlington IA
January 18th, 2017: Illinois Crop Management Conference, Mt. Vernon IL
January 25th, 2017: Illinois Crop Management Conference, Springfield IL
January 27th, 2017: Western IL/Northeastern Missouri No-Till Crop Management Conference, Quincy IL
January 27th, 2017: Bi-State Crop Advantage Conference, Davenport IA
February 1st, 2017: Illinois Crop Management Conference, Champaign IL
February 7th, 2017: Weed Management Workshops, Lewistown IL
February 9th, 2017: Weed Management Workshops, Pekin IL
February 15th, 2017: Illinois Crop Management Conference, Malta IL
February 28th, 2017: Soil Fertility Seminar, Multiple County Extension Offices
Access University of Illinois Extension Website For More Information: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs/
- Illinois Cover Crop Survey Results & Decision Tool
- Partners In Conservation Highlights
- Conservation Success Stories
- RISWCD Summer Intern & Internship Opportunities
- “Is Roadside And Cosmetic Mowing A Necessity”
- Fish Sale Order Form & Triploid Grass Carp Information
- Tree Sale Order Form
ILLINOIS FARMERS URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN USDA-NASS SURVEY
Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Survey of Best Management Practices
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACTS:
July 5, 2016 Rebecca Clark (217) 558-1546
Springfield, IL. – Illinois farmers should keep an eye on their mailboxes this month for an important survey that could help change the future of Illinois agriculture. On July 1, 2016, the Heartland Regional Field Office of the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) began mailing out surveys asking Illinois farmers about the techniques they utilize in accordance with the state’s Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS).
The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) is a joint effort by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Water Resources Center, and several public and private stakeholders. The Illinois effort is one of 31 other state strategies developed and implemented across the Mississippi River basin, intended to improve our nation’s water quality. Illinois’ strategy provides a framework for reducing both point and non-point nutrient losses to improve our state’s overall water quality, as well as the quality of the water leaving the state and making its way down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico.
This NLRS survey will ask farmers about crop production practices, including: use of cover crops, tillage strategies and nutrient application strategies. The survey will also ask some questions about fields and tiling. A high participation rate will help the state of Illinois prove that Illinois does not need additional mandates; that our state’s farmers and ranchers can make a difference through voluntary involvement; and that our producers have taken ownership of the issue and are willing and able to meet the challenge.
Representatives with USDA-NASS hope to have all survey data collection complete by September 15, but in order to do this a prompt return of this survey is necessary. These surveys will be a part of the Strategy’s bi-annual progress report. This requirement of the state strategy is designed to help evaluate what best management practices are working throughout the state.
321 210 Avenue, Monmouth, ILTours, Updates from Extension specialists, Free Refreshments
The Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center is a 320 acre facility, established in 1980 near Monmouth in Warren County. The Center is located on the very productive Argiudoll and Haplaquoll soils. Each year, approximately 50 different projects are conducted by up to 12 campus-based project leaders and the center superintendent. Subject matter areas involved in these projects include soil chemistry and fertility, soil management, crop production, weed science, entomology, plant pathology, pest management and environmental quality.
This year’s topics are on Nutrient, Pest and Crop Management:
- Are We Meeting the Corn Crop’s Nutrient Needs?
Emerson Nafziger – Extension Crop Production Specialist
- Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Practices: Every field needs at least one! Laura Christianson, Extension Water Quality Specialist
- Future Herbicide Resistance Traits for Soybean: What are Your Questions? Aaron Hager – Extension Weed Specialist
- Evaluation of Variable Seeding Depth and Corn Yield
Eric Coronel, PhD Candidate
Would you like to see native prairies, warm season grasses and beautiful blooming flowers? Would you like to hear how Native Americans and settlers used these plants for medicine, food and other things? Would you like to see some of the best habitat for wildlife, especially pheasant and quail, whose populations are on the rise? Are you interested in how wetlands are restored and how they can be used by migrating waterfowl, and other local wildlife? Would you like to learn more about the various programs and practices such as; CRP, CREP, terraces, dry dams, food plots, tree plantings, bird houses, and both warm and cool season grasses plantings?
Then why don’t you come to the Gilles Family Farm Tours being held this July. Come and enjoy a narrative description of how many various grasses and plants were used in the olden days. Then board the hay-racks, fitted with bus seats and railings, to enjoy a tour of their 700 acre farm, showcasing all of the items mentioned above. Come see how these programs and practices work to help stop soil erosion, improve water quality, improve air quality and provide excellent wildlife habitat. The farm is 7 miles west of the 4 way stop in Princeville on Highway 90, then 2 miles north on Brimfield Road. (look for the directional white signs).
Reservations are necessary since seating is limited. Please call the office or email Karla.Smith@il.nacdnet.net to reserve your spot and then we can also notify you if the tours are cancelled due to rain.
TUESDAY, July 12th 9:00 am & 6:00 pm
THURSDAY, July14th 9:00 am & 6:00 pm
WOMEN FARMLAND OWNERS AND OPERATORS IN AND AROUND STEPHENSON COUNTY INVITED TO FREE CONSERVATION DISCUSSION AND FIELD TOUR AUGUST 2 AT FAMOUS FOSSIL VINEYARD AND WINERY
The Women Caring for the LandSM meeting will bring together landowners in an informal learning format for a women-only morning discussion followed by lunch and a bus tour to view on-farm practices that promote healthy soil. Female conservation professionals will be on hand to answer questions and share resources. The key topic of discussion will be soil health, government cost-share programs and talking with farm tenants about management practices.
On August 2, coffee and registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 9. Lunch is provided at no cost to participants, and the program will end at 3 p.m.
Interested women landowners and operators can RSVP by 4:00 p.m. July 27 to the Stephenson County SWCD by emailing lorna.chezem@stephensonSWCD.org or calling 815/235-2161, extension 3. If you need accommodations, please notify us when you RSVP. Feel free to bring a friend or family member — just let us know when you RSVP!
Champaign, IL, May 20, 2016— State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced the new Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project in Illinois for fiscal year 2016. The monarch butterfly has suffered from significant population and habitat declines over the past two decades. The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project provides a funding source for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to work with agricultural producers to increase monarch habitat on private agriculture lands.
Through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), producers can install conservation practices such as conservation cover, riparian herbaceous cover, and field borders to establish monarch habitat on their land. This effort focuses on planting milkweed and other nectar-rich forbs and reducing pesticide use in proximity to monarch habitat.
NRCS’s Monarch initiative can also be used along with conservation easement programs. Currently in Illinois, NRCS is working with landowners to establish monarch habitat on existing Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) easements.
The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project is available in all Illinois counties. Interested producers and/or current WRP easement holders who want to establish Monarch habitat on their land can visit their local NRCS office for more information or to sign up. To compete for EQIP funding in 2016, applications must be submitted by one of the application cutoff dates of June 17 and July 15, 2016. Producers are encouraged to apply for financial assistance at any time throughout the year, as NRCS accepts applications on a continuous basis.
For more information about NRCS’ programs and services in Illinois, visit NRCS online at www.il.nrcs.usda.gov.
Public participation in science helps scientists answer big questions. Learn how to participate in several monarch butterfly citizen science programs and help researchers learn more about this incredible insect. The University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, in partnership with the Monarch Joint Venture, will instruct this workshop in conjunction with local Iowa habitat experts. Learn more about monarch biology, ecology and how you can help with conservation efforts.
Where: Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge 9981 Pacific St, Prairie City, IA 50228
When. Friday, May 6th from 12:30-4:30 PM AND Saturday, May 7th from 8:30 AM – 4:30-PM
Register at: http://goo.gl/forms/S7QW1z1rtR
Questions? Email Katie-Lyn Bunney at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Monarch Expert Added As Morning Keynote For June 2016 Quad Cities Pollinator Conference
Davenport, IA (Monday, March 14, 2016)- A second nationally-recognized Monarch expert has been added to the Quad Cities Pollinator Conference schedule of presenters June 23-24 at the River Center, located in downtown Davenport, Iowa. Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Monarch Joint Venture, Professor, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota will provide the opening keynote Thursday morning. Coordinated by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Nahant Marsh Education Center and Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District, this conference is geared toward the agricultural community; municipal, state and federal government employees; landowners; homeowners and urban dwellers; beekeepers; and educators.
The first day will consist of nearly 20 experts speaking on current pollinator issues, challenges, and opportunities within three tracks: Creating Native Habitat on Rural, Agricultural and Residential Landscapes; Bees, Science and the Human Connection; and Making Room for Natives in Urban, Municipal, and Right-Of-Way Settings. The luncheon will feature a second keynote speaker, Orley R. “Chip” Taylor, Ph.D., Founder and Director of Monarch Watch, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas.
Over the two days, topics will cover native insects, honey bees and creating pollinator friendly habitat. Experts like Donald R. Lewis, Ph.D, Deptartment of Entomology and Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, Iowa State University, will share their knowledge & latest scientific research on topics such as: plant-pollinator relationships; urban entomology, pollinator decline; designing pollinator support plantings and land conservation practices in agricultural and urban settings. Presentations will also feature speakers from Syngenta, Pheasants Forever, the City of Davenport, and much more!
Day two will consist of a morning of scheduled tours around the Quad City area, visiting successful pollinator habitat projects. These tours are optional, but are included in the conference fee.
WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND
Pollinators are a critical natural resource in agriculture and healthy ecosystems, but there has been significant pollinator decline over the past few decades. Because of this, many different groups, organizations, and individuals care about pollinator protection and sustainability. This year, we focus on action! We are inviting homeowners, landowners, beekeepers, educators, the general public, and local/state/federal government employees to take part in this event. The goal for the conference is to provide a platform for knowledge-sharing, open dialogue, networking opportunities, and related goods and services.
A CALL TO ACTION
Threats facing pollinators include habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. As native vegetation is lost to roadways, manicured lawns, crops and non-native gardens, pollinators lose the food and nesting sites that are necessary for their survival. Migratory pollinators face special challenges. If the distance between suitable habitat patches along their migration route is too great, smaller, weaker individuals may die during their journey. Our conference hopes to offer landscape solutions for a variety of applications (urban, rural, backyard) in order to address habitat loss for pollinators and other native species.
“WHY POLLINATORS ARE IMPORTANT” SCHOOL VIDEO CONTEST
New this year is a video contest for local schools. Entries will be accepted for the 1st annual video contest. Videos must be 30-60 seconds long and be submitted in affiliation with a local Quad City Academic Institution (schools, school clubs, student organizations etc.) All videos must be submitted by June 1, 2016, with a signed photo/video release. Winners will be notified by June 15, 2016. Entries can be submitted to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife, 1511 47th Ave., Moline, IL 61265. The Grand Prize Video will win $1,000 will be given to install a pollinator garden, or provide science curriculum relating to pollinators, supplies, and/or materials. Two $500 prizes will be awarded for runners-up, one for high school participants, and one for junior high participants. The funding will be put toward pollinator related curriculum, supplies, and/or materials. The top three entries will be invited to attend the 2016 Pollinator Conference to accept their awards. Contact Ellen at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife office with questions about the contest: 309.757.5800 x213 email@example.com.
HOW TO REGISTER
Registration for the QC Pollinator Conference is open and available online at: www.qcpollinatorconference.org.
Early registration: $60
Registration after May 6: $75
Student registration is half price: $37.50
For more information and registration, visit www.qcpollinatorconference.org or contact Lindsey at Nahant Marsh: 563.336.3374, firstname.lastname@example.org. Lindsey can also provide information on accommodations for out-of-town guests at a group-rate at either Hotel Blackhawk or the Radisson Quad City Plaza—which are attached to the conference site.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Each level includes complimentary exhibitor space at the River Center on June 23, 2016.
Our list is growing! Visit www.qcpollinatorconference.org for the most current version.
We thank our generous sponsors and partners for their support.
CLOVER SPONSOR: $2,500
Nahant Marsh Education Center, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Iowa REAP
ALFALFA SPONSOR: $1,000
Alcoa, Radish, Walcott Trust and Savings Bank
MONARCH BUTTERFLY SPONSOR: $500
Davenport Public Works, Iowa Public Radio, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, WVIK
PURPLE CONE FLOWER SPONSOR: $250
BeeLaws.org, Living Lands& Waters, Simply Native Nursery
TENTATIVE CONFERENCE AGENDA | Thursday, June 23, 2016
8:00 – 11:30 a.m. – Attendee Registration and Check-In
9:00 a.m. – Opening Keynote: Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Monarch Joint Venture, Professor and Director of
Graduate Studies, Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota
10:00 a.m. – Morning Sessions Begin
Noon – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch with Keynote Address– Dr. Chip Taylor, Founder and Director of Monarch Watch,
Professor, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
1:00 – 1:15 p.m. – Remarks and Reminders: Afternoon Sessions Begin
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Panel/Questions and Closing Remarks
About Dr. Karen Oberhauser
Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Karen is passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believes that the connections her projects promote between monarchs, humans, and the natural world promote meaningful conservation action. In 1996, along with graduate student Michelle Prysby, Oberhauser started a nation-wide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project. The project continues to engage hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. Oberhauser is the chair of the Monarch Joint Venture, and a founding officer of the Monarch Butterfly Fund. Oberhauser has been studying monarch butterflies since 1984. She works with teachers and pre-college students in Minnesota and throughout the United States using monarchs to teach about biology, conservation, and the process of science.
About Dr. Orley R. “Chip” Taylor
Trained as an insect ecologist, Chip Taylor is known world-wide for his work related to saving the monarch migration in North America. Taylor is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas where he conducts research on a variety of topics related to the evolution and ecological implications of life history traits in insects and plants. In 1992, Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies. Since then, Monarch Watch has enlisted the help of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration. This program has produced many new insights into the dynamics of the monarch migration. In 2005 Monarch Watch created the Monarch Waystation program, in recognition that habitats for monarchs are declining at a rate of 6,000 acres a day in the United States. The goal of this program is to inspire the public, schools and others to create habitats for monarch butterflies and to assist Monarch Watch in educating the public about the decline in resources for monarchs, pollinators and all wildlife that share the same habitats.
River Action, the Nature Conservancy, and Western Illinois University and many other great sponsors are hosting the 2016 Upper Mississippi River Conference, October 13-14. This annual conference targets a multidisciplinary audience. Planners, elected officials, engineers, architects, landscape architects, environmentalists, educators, students, and other river and watershed stakeholders are invited to discuss current issues surrounding the Upper Mississippi.
Conference details can be found at www.riveraction.org/umrc. In response to the recently released “ Report Card for the Mississippi River Watershed” produced by America’s Watershed Initiative, this year’s conference will focus on “Raising the Grade”. With a D+ in the overall watershed and a C in the Upper Miss. Basin, the region faces many challenges.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
9 AM to 3 PM Registration starts at 8:15AM
Jumer’s Casino and Hotel
777 Jumer Drive Rock Island, IL
Workshop Program Includes:
• Ordinance updates for Rock Island County and the Cities of Moline and Rock Island
• NPDES update from the IL EPA
• Construction site BMP’s – problems and solutions
• Seeding options – temporary and permanent
• Products and solutions for YOUR construction site
• Economics of Sediment and Erosion Control
For More Information Contact:
Rich Stewart, Resource Conservationist, Rock Island SWCD 309-764-1486, Ext. 3
Workshop Cost: $20.00 Includes lunch and snacks
Walk-in registrants are welcome until capacity is reached an additional $10 fee will be charged
Space is limited – Advance Registration is recommended
For advance registration Mail In These Forms: (No Fee)
Or Register and Pay Online At:
http://www.eventbrite.com/o/education-committee-of-illowa-chapter-of-icc-8498086091 (Small fee)
We understand that something may prevent you from attending after you register.
However, due to contractual obligations, no refunds will be issued after February 26, 2016.
Area farmers are invited to a free Nutrient Management Workshop on Tuesday, February 23rd. The morning session will be held at the American Legion in Reynolds beginning at 9:30 A.M.
Program topics include soil health considerations, best management practices for nutrient management, the 4R’s of NLRS, and effects on water quality. Information on USDA cost-share programs related to nutrient management and soil health will also be presented.
Speakers at the workshop include Dan Schaefer with the IL Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Dean Oswald with Council of BMP’s, Robert Woodruff with IL Stewardship Alliance, and Mark Jackson with the USDA-NRCS office.
Refreshments and a complimentary lunch will be served at the meeting. The workshop is limited to the first 100 attendees who make a reservation.
To make a reservation or disability accommodations, please call the Rock Island County SWCD Office at 309-764-1486 Ext. 3 or Mercer County SWCD Office at 309-582-5153 Ext. 3.
For Immediate Release: December 4, 2015 Contact: Paige Buck, NRCS (217) 353-6606
2016 Illinois Seminars Planned Conservation Cropping Seminars Attendance Still Climbing!
(CHAMPAIGN, IL) – Does $20 seem like a lot to gain knowledge, insight, and skills that can improve your farm and your bottom line? Not to conservation partners. It’s worth investing $20 and one winter day to feed your curiosity and that growing desire to improve your farm operation. Local agricultural producers and resource experts will share information and personal experiences on soil health improvement options, cover crop success, and wise nutrient management techniques. Consider attending any of the three unique seminars planned at three new Illinois locations—January 26th in Champaign, January 27 in Milan (Quad Cities), and January 28th in Godfrey, Illinois. To register, visit www.ccswcd.com and click on the IDOA Conservation Cropping Seminar listed on the right to access the website.
The fee to attend is $20, payable by check or credit card. These new Conservation Cropping Seminars grew out of the old Tillage Seminars producers, Ag industry representatives, certified crop advisors, and others attended for years. The new events start at 8 am and end at 3:30 pm, with time to meet after and visit speakers, sponsors, and attendees in an informal networking atmosphere.
“We are glad to work with so many great conservation partners for another year and bring this information and opportunity to more locations across the state,” Acting State Conservationist Eric Gerth said. “For three years now we’ve worked with the Illinois Department of Agriculture to connect with new farmers and involve more key partners. The group’s goal is to help spread good information, ideas, and confidence in key conservation solutions that will work in Illinois.”
- January 26, 2016 – i Hotel Conference Center – 1900 S. First St. in Champaign, IL – Contact: Elliot Lagacy (217) 353-6603
- January 27, 2016 – Lewis & Clark College – “The Commons” @ 5800 Godfrey Rd. in Godfrey IL – Contact: Gary Albers (618) 476-7230
- January 28, 2016 – The Camden Centre – 2701 1st East Street in Milan, IL – Contact: Marty McManus (309) 738-7227
“Attendance continues to climb at these events, which tells us farmers want to know more,” said Elliot Lagacy, one of Illinois Department of Agriculture’s coordinators. “The feedback partners gathered last year helped strengthen topics and speakers for 2016.” Featured speaker this year includes Dr. Jennifer Moore-Kucera, from the newly formed Soil Health Division at NRCS’ National Headquarters.
Seminar coordinators encourage producers near local sites register and see detailed Seminar agendas, discussion topics, and speakers. Visit the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District website www.ccswcd.com and click on the calendar item for the nearest session. Local businesses and organizations can exhibit, serve as sponsors, and reach local and new clients. See website for details. Sponsors and organizers include, Illinois Department of Agriculture, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, American Farmland Trust, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
November 30, 2015
Illinois NRCS will have a new funding opportunity in fiscal year 2016 to establish monarch habitat.
Illinois is one of ten states in the Midwest and Southern Plains to target conservation and financial
assistance to the monarch butterfly through creation and enhancement of monarch habitat,
including planting milkweed species. $4 million dollars has been committed for use in the ten state
region for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural
Easement Program (ACEP). For Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), there will be no special funding, but monarch habitat enhancements will be offered to support the project.
Field offices and interested partners and producers can find more about the monarch butterfly habitat
development strategy, plant list, and additional resources on the national NRCS website.
We anticipate receiving program guidance and instructions sometime in January 2016. This project is a high priority for the agency, department and White House. I would like to see
Illinois leading the effort with interested producers. Watch for more guidance to come.
Eric A. Gerth Acting State Conservationist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Attention Farmers and Landowners: In addition to an ongoing Continuous CRP Signup, there is a General Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Signup in the USDA office from Dec. 1-Feb. 26th. Pheasants Forever and the USDA are holding informational workshops about both CRP Signups in January. Workshop topics include financial and conservation benefits of CRP, practices in CRP, the application process, and how to establish and manage CRP.
Why? To reduce soil loss, improve wildlife habitat, and improve water quality while sustaining income on your farm! Refreshments will be provided.
When and where?
Tues. 12/22, 2pm at the Geneseo Park District Senior Center Room
Tues. 12/29, 2pm at the Monmouth Farm Bureau Building
Tues. 1/12, 10am at the IL Dept. of Agriculture’s Lab in Galesburg
Thur. 1/14, 9am at the Reynolds American Legion
Thur. 1/14, 1pm at the Cordova Civic Center
Contact Scott James Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist For Additional Information:
The ribbon cutting for “Jeff’s Outdoor Play Space” at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, 3010 26th Ave., Moline took place on Wednesday October 21st. After much work and dedication by all partners involved, the teachers at the school were delighted to officially open the nature inspired outdoor classroom.
Rich Stewart, Resource Conservationist, of the Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District and Joe Gates of the Natural Resources Conservation Service assisted beginning in 2012 with the planning and implementation of a portion of this particular project which includes:a trike path, huge sandbox area, stage, “music” area with clang-able pots and pans attached to a fence, herbs, flowers and a butterfly garden.
It is the hope of teachers and parents that this previously empty space will serve as an outdoor education center allowing the children to spend more time outside in nature. The project was funded through a grant written by some of the teachers at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, and involved SWCD, NRCS, DNR, as well as a donation of trees from a large distributor.
The R.I. Soil & Water Conservation District looks forward to collaborating on projects like these in the future and is always willing to assist with the design and installation of outdoor classrooms like this one. Contact the SWCD office 309-764-1486 Ext. 3 for more information.
The Rock Island Soil and Water Conservation District has scheduled two field days to showcase their Cover crop plots here in Rock Island County. Both plots highlight several combinations of cover crops used to reduce soil erosion and improve soil health.
The northern plot field day will be Wednesday, November 4th at Bob DePauw’s farm in Coe Township at 27004 – 122nd Ave N, Port Byron, IL. Bob’s plot includes Cereal rye, Oil Seed Radishes, Triticale, Winter and Spring Oats, and Annual Rye Grass planted at the end of August.
The southern plot field day with be Thursday November 5th at the Anderson Farm located ½ mile east of Sherrard High School or west of the junction of 176th Ave W and 63rd St. W. The plots include Cereal Rye, Annual Rye, Winter Oats, and Oil Seed Radish.
Both events with begin at 10 AM and last for one hour. Both are open to the public. There is no charge for the event and refreshments will be served. For more information and reservations call the Rock Island SWCD office at (309) 764-1486 ext. 3.
Cover crops lengthen the growing season of live plant material in the field. Many winter annual species like Winter Wheat, Cereal Rye and Annual Rye Grass maintaining live root systems under the soil surface during the winter months providing food for soil microbes to stay active. Idle crop fields, on the other hand, become biological deserts in which soil microbes reduce in population with limited food resources. Some covers like Cereal Rye and Annual Rye Grass also provide biological weed control in crop fields during the early portion of the growing season. This helps reduce the amount of pesticides that need to be used.
Additional benefits include, reduced soil erosion, enhancement of soil biology through increased microbial activity and the development of higher organic levels, and improved water quality from reduced run-off, along with the capture of un-used phosphorus and nitrogen making those nutrients available for the next cropping season.
Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts are on the brink of closure if a FY16 State Budget is not reached and if District’s are not named in that budget. On Tuesday, September 22 at 10:00 am and 10:30 am, AISWCD’s Executive Committee is promoting a “Legislative Call-In Day” to bring the District’s funding crisis to the forefront for Senators, Republicans, Senate and House leadership as well as the Governor.
WHAT: Legislative Call-In Day
WHEN: Tuesday, September 22nd at 10:00 am & 10:30 am
WHERE: From the comfort of your current location – just pick up the phone and make the call to your legislators
WHO: Contact your local legislators, the Governor’s office, Senate and House Leadership
1. If you don’t know your legislators, find your legislative District number on this website…
And search these websites… to find which legislator is in your District.
Senate – http://www.ilga.gov/senate/
House – http://www.ilga.gov/house/
2. Call your Senator and Representatives at 10:00am on Tuesday, September 22nd.
3. Call the Governor’s office, Senate President Cullerton and House Speaker Madigan’s office at 10:30 am on Tuesday, September 22nd.
If the phones are busy, please continue to call back until you are greeted by a legislative assistant in that office. If you need to, by all means, leave a message.
Please call not only the local offices but the Legislator’s Springfield office, as well.
TALKING POINTS –
1. Soil and Water Conservation District employees will lose health insurance coverage on September 30th if a budget is not passed and if SWCDs are not name in a budget.
a. The Department of Agriculture decided, in 2000, to pay 100% of health insurance premiums for District employees. Now, in 2015, they have decided, without warning, to not pay the premiums. District Boards need more than a few months warner before terminating or requiring employee’s to pay the insurance premiums. (Insert your District’s current situation on health insurance)
2. HB4282 needs bipartisan support.
3. Without Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the State of Illinois will see regulation on Agricultural lands in the near future due to the in inability to put voluntary conservation on the ground. Districts are the only local organization that is trusted by local farmers and landowners to assist in voluntary conservation efforts. Without Districts, voluntary conservation will become regulatory.
4. The local delivery system for getting conservation on the ground will be lost forever, if funding is not restored. SWCDs have 485 volunteer District Directors, who are local farmers/landowners, and 165 trained employees with on average 20 years of experience. All will be lost should funding not be restored to SWCDs.
5. SWCDs bring in over $300 million dollars of Federal cost-share program dollars each year. This number can increase or decrease depending on the strength of the SWCDs. (Insert your District’s current situation).
Should you have any questions regarding how to locate your legislator’s number, the talking points, additional funding information, please contact AISWCD before Tuesday’s call.
We hope everyone will call their legislators on Tuesday, September 22nd for Legislative Call-In Day!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2015
Springfield, IL, August 17, 2015— Soil and Water Conservation District employees across the state will be without funding for our health insurance and will lose their coverage, thus significantly impacting the employee workforce since they are currently working without a FY16 budget.
SWCDs, authorized in 1937 under the Illinois Soil and Water Conservation District Act (70 ILCS 405), receive operational and cost-share funds through the Partners for Conservation Program from the State of Illinois through the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Our SWCDs depend on operational funds to pay salaries, as well as health insurance, of our employees. No part of the operational or cost-share funds go to pay for offices or building overhead, as these are provided by our federal partners, the United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) through a Memorandum of Understanding. Since our operational funding has been suspended, these funds are not available to meet our upcoming September 30th insurance payment obligation to Central Management Services (CMS) and we will lose the insurance coverage provided to employees statewide.
SWCDs understand the significant fiscal crisis that the State is facing. SWCDs feel that they have truly done their part to learn to do more with less while continuing to provide services with limited funding. Additionally, all 97 SWCDs have developed long range plans over the course of the past fiscal year to evaluate and establish the best path forward to ensure the continued successful implementation of our conservation mission statewide. A measure of this continued success is that even in the face significant funding constraints, and with a limited investment of state funds, SWCDs continue to serve as a local delivery system interacting over half a billion dollars of local, state and federal funds significantly benefiting our state economy.
To that end, with all the funding decreases, the lack of FY16 budget and pending loss of employee health insurance, the existence of SWCDs is being threatened.
Please support the 97 Soil and Water Conservation Districts by encouraging state legislators to work together to pass a FY16 budget with a line for SWCDs.
For Immediate Release
Office of the Governor
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Federal Assistance Available For Farmers Impacted By Heavy Rainfall and Flooding
SPRINGFIELD, IL-The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted the request of Governor Rauner for disaster designation in 87 Illinois counties and 14 contiguous counties that suffered losses due to rain and flooding this year.
“Illinois has suffered a lot of storm and rain damage throughout this Spring and Summer,” Rauner said. “I am pleased our request for federal assistance was granted and encourage farmers throughout these counties to contact their local Farm Service Agency for questions.”
The governor issued an official letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack on July 23, 2015. The 19 members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation also signed a letter to President Obama to endorse the governor’s request for this designation. Counties eligible for assistance were determined through the Loss Assessment Reports reviewed by the USDA.
“I am grateful to all the members of our Illinois Congressional delegation for their strong and united support for securing this assistance for farmers throughout the state,” Rauner added.
Farmers who believe they may be eligible for assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency office. Loan applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and applicant’s repayment ability. Farmers who have questions should contact the state FSA office at (217) 241-6600.
Counties eligible for assistance include: Adams, Alexander, Bond, Brown, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Johnson, Kane, Kankakee, Knox, La Salle, Lawrence, Lee, Livingston, Logan, McDonough, McLean, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Massac, Menard, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Pope, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Richland, Rock Island, St. Clair, Saline, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Stark, Tazewell, Union, Vermilion, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White, Whiteside, Will, Williamson, Woodford
Counties named as contiguous disaster counties eligible for assistance: Boone, Bureau, Christian, Coles, Cook, Edgar, Jo Daviess, Kendall, McHenry, Moultrie, Ogle, Shelby, Stephenson, Winnebago
Augustana student intern Alyssa Clarida was able to work three days a week this summer at the SWCD office to update the current IL EPA 319 Grant Application and Resource Plan for Copperas Creek. She developed the water monitoring plan that is a key component of the plan and collected water samples at six sites. The samples were taken to Augustana College for analysis. This will serve as a base line for future water samples.
The updated Resource Plan and the information that Doug Hessman collected last summer was submitted in a new IL EPA 319 Grant Application. Previous applications made the initial list from IL EPA for their consideration. But due to the large number of applications around Illinois, we have not been successful in winning approval. Persistence does play a part of the application pool. So we will keep trying.
One thing that has improved our chances is the support and commitments we have received from the Edgington Township Board and Rock Island County Highway Department . More information to come!
- Pond Clinic & Dry Fire Hydrant Demonstration (pg. 1)
- SWCD State Funding Crisis (pg. 1)
- NRCS, Pheasants Forever, & U of I Extension (pg. 2)
- Conservation Success Stories (pg. 3)
- Irrigation Water Use Reporting Requirements (pg. 3)
- Newsletter Sponsorship’s (pg. 7)
We are excited to announce that a new Farm Bill Biologist, Scott James, and a new Outreach Coordinator, Katie Kauzlarich, have been hired in Northwest Illinois. Scott began Jul. 1st and works with area landowners and farmers to implement wildlife habitat conservation measures. Katie began Jul. 1st and works statewide to introduce youth and the public to nature and shooting sports. Through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) and Pheasants Forever (PF), Scott and Katie aim to strengthen pheasant conservation in Illinois.
Scott is located in the Galesburg NRCS Field Office and serves Knox, Henry, Mercer, Rock Island, and Warren Counties. Scott is a native of Rock Island County. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University. Since that time, Scott served overseas with the National Guard, worked as a waterfowl research technician on two projects, and worked for Quail Forever in Southeast Missouri. He has been interested in wildlife conservation work since childhood and plans to conserve wildlife as much as possible in Illinois. Scott is one of five Illinois Farm Bill Biologists and they are employees of, and supervised by PF, with daily instruction and leadership provided by NRCS. Scott can be reached at (309) 660-3147 or email@example.com
Katie is located in Farmington and will oversee youth education and recruitment activities for Illinois’ 41 Pheasants Forever chapters and 19 Quail Forever chapters representing over 10,000 members. A native of Farmington, Illinois, Kauzlarich graduated from Augustana College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, and is currently a graduate student at Western Illinois University. In addition to her graduate studies, Kauzlarich has been employed as a naturalist at Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria Heights since 2013. For more information about youth programs or becoming involved with conservation education in Illinois, contact Kathryn Kauzlarich at (309) 264- 1678 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pheasants Forever and USDA/SWCD partners are hosting a wildflower and pollinator workshop on August 18th 9:00-11:00 a.m. The workshop will be held at a small prairie on private property near Sherrard (1713 Knoxville Road Sherrard, IL).
Primary topics include: 1. Establishing, managing, and identifying wildflowers. 2. The importance of pollinators to nature and mankind. 3. How seed mixes can be wildlife-friendly and inexpensive. Children are encouraged to attend as youth activities will be provided!
Please contact Scott James at (309) 660-3147 with questions or accommodation requests.
The Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a fall Pond Clinic and Dry Fire Hydrant Demonstration Wednesday September 9th from 5:00-7:30 p.m.
The pond is located at 5509 286th Street North Hillsdale, IL. RSVP by phone (309-764-1486) or email (email@example.com) by September 4th.
Ken Clodfelter, County Fish Biologist, will be conducting a pond shocking as well as discussing pond management techniques and concepts. Several product vendors will be present and available to answer questions.
Additionally, the Hillsdale Fire Department will be installing a dry fire hydrant donated by the R.I. SWCD immediately following the Pond Clinic. A meal will be provided, please bring your lawn chairs and any pond management questions you may have!
- John Phipps (p.12)
- Pollinators (p. 1, 4, 12)
- Financial Assistance (p. 4-7)
- Copperas Creek Watershed (p. 8)
- Nutrient Management (p. 5)
- RISWCD Interns (p. 9)
- Wildlife Habitat (p. 6)
- Conservation Success Stories (p. 3)
- IL Extension Summer Camps (p. 2)
- Local Food AgriTours (p.2)
- Newsletter Sponsors (p. 10)
- Local Conservation Funding Pinch (p. 2)
This year’s theme is Local Heroes- Your Hardworking Pollinators. Find everything you need to know at our poster contest page: http://www.rockislandswcd.org/postercontest/
Pollinators: In the Backyard & On the Back Forty
June 10-11, 2015- Jumer’s Rock Island, IL
John Phipps, U.S. Farm Report Commentator
Mary Berenbaum, PhD, Ept. of Entomology, Univ. of Illinois
- Plant-pollinator relationships
- Pollinator decline
- Designing pollinator support plantings
- Land Conservation Practices
- Pollinator-friendly landscapes in ag & urban settings
Who Should Attend:
- Agricultural community
- Municipal, state and federal government employees
Pollinators are necessary to ensure our food supply. Of the 100 crops that make up 90% of the global food supply, 71 are dependent on bees. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the U.S.
Water quality is a resource concern addressed by the Copperas Creek Watershed Resource Plan. We know soil erosion and runoff are affecting water quality, but we lack concrete data on the impact. Water quality monitoring data can provide that concrete data— helping us to better understand the resource concerns and treat them more effectively. We also know that using practices like filter strips, cover crops, and no-till will help, but how much.? Again, water quality monitoring data can quantify the reduction in soil erosion and nutrient loss.
Water quality monitoring data will also provide proof that grant dollars are needed for cost-share on conservation practices in the watershed. The big watershed grants recognize the importance of monitoring. Developing and implementing a monitoring plan will improve our grant applications and chance of selection. Even if we are not selected, the data will help guide existing resources and technical assistance.
RISWCD reached out to the Augustana College Environmental Studies and Geography Departments to assist with designing and implementing a water quality monitoring program for the Copperas Creek Watershed. Our request was enthusiastically received by Dr. Reisner, Dr. Heine, and Dr. Fockler, who were excited to provide problem-based learning opportunities for their students. Many Augustana students hail from urban areas, so this opportunity to learn about rural agriculture was especially exciting.
A mutually beneficial partnership plan was outlined. RISWCD and NRCS staff took a class on a tour of Copperas Creek Watershed in early December (pictured right). The tour highlighted existing conservation practices in the watershed and the need for additional conservation practices. Students saw existing streambank stabilization, cover crops, filter strips, riparian buffers, no-till, and more. They also saw areas where conservation practices would be beneficial. Staff pointed out the high cost of these practices and the need for financial assistance.
The students are working in teams to develop monitoring plans. The student plans will be reviewed by RISWCD and the Copperas Creek Planning Committee, and used to develop a water quality monitoring plan for Copperas Creek Watershed. The final sample sites will be chosen with landowner approval and support.
Every Geography and Environmental Studies student must complete a senior inquiry on a topic of their choice prior to graduation. Students who take interest in the watershed can choose to partner with RISWCD and the Copperas Creek Planning Committee on their senior inquiry. These upper-level Augustana students will begin collecting samples Spring 2015. The samples will also be processed by the students in Augustana’s lab. The lab work will follow protocol, and will be completed under the guidance of lab staff to ensure results are valid and recognized as such. Through the summer, RISWCD will hire two interns to continue the monitoring program. The interns will be mostly funded through an Illinois Board of Higher Education Emerging Professionals grant coordinated by Augustana.
As new students adopt Copperas Creek Watershed for their senior inquiry, we will be able to continue the partnership into future years. The projects will grow and change to reflect where we are in the implementation of the Copperas Creek Watershed Resource Plan. Augustana champions these types of partnerships—they even have staff to assist partners with grant writing when the grant provides learning opportunities for their students.
The Copperas Creek Watershed Project provides students with a great learning opportunity, career development opportunity, and the opportunity to make a real difference. This partnership will also help shape and educate the next generation of conservationists. We are excited about the opportunity to share our love for and understanding of rural conservation! We hope you are too!
“The focus in on reducing nutrient losses to the environment—not on reducing nutrient uses by Illinois agriculture,”
“Nutrient pollution is a major threat to water quality. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus carried in runoff from city streets and farm fields or flowing out of wastewater treatment plants can fuel algae blooms that decrease oxygen needed by aquatic plants and animals. In the Gulf of Mexico, nutrients washed down by the Mississippi River have created a “dead zone” that stretches for thousands of square miles. At home, nutrient pollution can also lower property values, hinder recreation, and degrade drinking water quality. To help protect local streams and the Gulf, Illinois and 11 other states in the Mississippi River basin have pledged to develop strategies to reduce the nutrient loads leaving their borders. These strategies are part of a national plan developed by the Mississippi River, Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force.”- From Illinois’ Nutrient Loss Reduction Website
Researchers identified the major nutrient sources and their proportional contribution to nutrient loss to the Mississippi River. See the table below for the breakdown.
|Nutrient Source||Proportion of Nutrient Loss to Mississippi River|
|Point Source (wastewater treatment, etc…)||16%||48%|
Researchers then identified best management practices (BMP’s) that are effective at reducing nutrient losses. The targets are 25% reduction of phosphorous loss and 15% reduction of nitrogen loss by 2025. Reductions will be achieved through voluntary implementation of BMPs. The national hypoxia working group set the eventual target reduction of N and P flowing into the Gulf of Mexico at 45%.
The agricultural reductions will be realized through voluntary conservation practices.
said Laura Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) director of natural and environmental resources in IFB’s December 8th issue of Farm Week.