Natural Areas For Native Species: The Art of Conservation

Natural Areas For Native Species: The Art of Conservation

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.

2017 Urban Erosion & Sediment Control Workshop

2017 Urban Erosion & Sediment Control Workshop

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


U of I Extension Upcoming Events

U of I Extension Upcoming Events

U of I Extension


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:


Agricultural Research Center Field Day

Agricultural Research Center Field Day

U of I Extension
Friday, July 15, 8:00 am: Northwestern Illinois Agriculture R&D Center
321 210 Avenue, Monmouth, IL
Tours, Updates from Extension specialists, Free Refreshments

Research Center is located 1 mile North and 4 miles West of Monmouth at 321 210 Ave.

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
 For more information contact: Angie Peltier (309) 734-1098 or visit their website
Peoria County SWCD Summer Farm Tour

Peoria County SWCD Summer Farm Tour

Peoria Farm Tour 2016


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 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 Caring For The Land Meeting And Tour

Women Caring For The Land Meeting And Tour

Stephenson CountyAmerican Farmland TrustWomen Food and Ag Netowrk



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 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!

Monarch Conservation and Citizen Science Event

Monarch Conservation and Citizen Science Event

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
Cost: $20
Register at:
Questions? Email Katie-Lyn Bunney at:


Quad Cities 2nd Annual Pollinator Conference

Quad Cities 2nd Annual Pollinator Conference

2016 Pollinator Conference Logo

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.


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.


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.


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


Registration for the QC Pollinator Conference is open and available online at:

Early registration: $60
Registration after May 6: $75
Student registration is half price: $37.50
For more information and registration, visit or contact Lindsey at Nahant Marsh: 563.336.3374, 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 for the most current version.
We thank our generous sponsors and partners for their support.


Nahant Marsh Education Center, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Iowa REAP


Alcoa, Radish, Walcott Trust and Savings Bank


Davenport Public Works, Iowa Public Radio, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, WVIK

PURPLE CONE FLOWER SPONSOR: $250, Living Lands& Waters, Simply Native Nursery




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.

Upper Mississippi River Conference

Upper Mississippi River Conference




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  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.

2016 Urban Erosion and Sediment Control Workshop

2016 Urban Erosion and Sediment Control Workshop

2016 Logo (2)

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)

Click Here To Download Exhibitor Forms

Click Here To Download Registration Forms

Or Register and Pay Online At: (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.

Nutrient Management Workshop Offered For Area Farmers

Nutrient Management Workshop Offered For Area Farmers

NLRS Event February 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.

2016 Conservation Cropping Seminar





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 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 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.



R.I. Farm Bureau To Host NLRS Informational Meeting

R.I. Farm Bureau To Host NLRS Informational Meeting


R.I. Farm Bureau Logo

Join the Rock Island County Farm Bureau,  along with the Mercer and Henry County Farm Bureaus and Gold Star FS for an informational meeting on the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy on Tuesday, December 15th at the Camden Centre (formerly the Milan Community Center) located at 2701 1st St E in Milan.

Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m, and a light breakfast will be served. The meeting will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. with Lauren Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau’s Director of Natural and Environmental Resources, presenting “The Illinois Loss Reduction Strategy: What is it? How does it impact me?” The discussion will primarily focus on the process by which the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) was formed, the details of the agricultural portion of the NLRS, and what you can do to implement the NLRS on your farm. If you would like to attend this very educational and timely meeting, RSVP by December 11th by calling the Farm Bureau office at (309)736-7432 or e-mailing 

USDA & Pheasants Forever Host CRP Workshops

USDA & Pheasants Forever Host CRP Workshops



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:

(309) 660-3147

Outdoor Education Center Opens In Moline

Outdoor Education Center Opens In Moline


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.

Fall Cover Crop Tours November 4th-5th


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.



Budget Crisis: Legislative Call-In We Need Your Help!!

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 –
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.

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!

Wildflower & Pollinator Workshop

Wildflower & Pollinator Workshop

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.

Pheasants Forever Logo

Pond Clinic & Dry Fire Hydrant Demonstration

Pond Clinic & Dry Fire Hydrant Demonstration

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 ( 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!
Pond Clinic

QC Pollinator Conference June 10-11, 2015

QC Pollinator Conference June 10-11, 2015



 Pollinators:  In the Backyard & On the Back Forty

June 10-11, 2015- Jumer’s Rock Island, IL

Visit to register.

Speakers include:
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
  • Landowners
  • Beekeepers
  • Educators

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.

Cover Crop Workshops March 31 and April 1, 2015

Cover Crop Workshops March 31 and April 1, 2015


The Rock Island SWCD is hosting two Cover Crop field days this spring. One plot is in the north part of Rock Island County and one is in a familiar spot in the southern part of Rock Island. Cover crops are being promoted to reduce soil erosion, improve soil health, help with compaction problems, and reduce the loss of nutrients from crop fields into area streams and lakes.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Bob DePauw’s farm in Coe Township
27004 – 122nd Ave. N. Port Byron, IL.
1 mile east of 256th St N on 122nd Ave N
See Location on Map

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
Anderson-McCarthy Farm in Rural Township
West of the intersection of 176 Ave and 63rd St.
(½ mile east of Sherrard High School)
See location on map.

Both events will begin at 10 AM with refreshments / coffee followed by a brief program. Results of last fall’s seeding plots will be discussed. Cover Crop specialists will discuss cover crop seeding and species options. Also, farmers who have tried cover crops from 2013 will be on hand. A field tour of the fall seeding will follow a short program. Cost-share information and how to apply will also be discussed.

Reservations Requested. Call the Rock Island SWCD office at 309-764-1486, Ext. 3 by Monday, March 30th.

2015 Conservation Cropping Seminars

2015 Conservation Cropping Seminars

Curious about Cover Crops? Want to learn more about soil health? Mark your calendars for three new Conservation Cropping Seminars coming to your area and don’t miss out on these great opportunities to learn more about cover crop best practices and implementation. Hear from local Ag producers and resource experts who will share information and insights on soil health improvements, cover crop success, and wise nutrient management. Register today!

Visit to register.The $20 fee is payable by check or credit card and includes lunch.


  • Contact: Joe Bybee (815) 787-5480
  • Schedule: 8:30 am – 12:00, lunch, 1:00 – 3:30 w/ Meet-N-Greet 3:30 – 5 pm
  • Welcome – Russ Higgins, University of Illinois Extension
  • Nutrient Utilization–Using BMPs & Cover Crops – Dr. Shalamar Armstrong, Illinois State University & local farmer
  • Herbicide Management & Cover Crops – Gordon Roskamp, IL Community College
  • Systems for Soil Health –  Dr. Eileen Kladivko, Purdue University
  • IL Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy “What and Why Now?” – Lauren Lurkins, IL Farm Bureau
  • Basics of Successful Cover Crops – Hans Kok, West LaFayette, IN
  • Farmer Panel Discussion with local producers
  • Soybeans & Stewardship – Ray Gaesser, IA farmer, American Soybean Association


  • Contact: Elliot Lagacy (217) 353-6603
  • Schedule: 8:30 am – 12:10, lunch, 1:00 – 3:30 w/ Meet-N-Greet 3:30 – 5 pm
  • Converting & Adapting to Conservation Cropping Systems – Roger Wenning
  • Nutrient Utilization–Using BMPs & Cover Crops – Dr. Shalamar Armstrong
  • Weed & Herbicide Management with Cover Crops – Gordon Roskamp
  • Soil Health—“How Do We Get to A Healthy Soil?” – Hans Kok, Soil Health Consultant, IN
  • Basics of Successful Cover Crops – Dave Robison, IN farmer
  • Farm Panel Discussion with local producers
  • IL Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy “What and Why Now?” – Lauren Lurkins, IL Farm Bureau


  • Contact: Mary McManus (309) 738-7227
  • Schedule: 8:30 am – 12:10, lunch, 1:00 – 3:30 w/ Meet-N-Greet 3:30 – 5 pm
  • Welcome – Dr. Andy Baker, Chair WIU Department of Agriculture
  • “Resource Conservation Partnership Program” – Mike Rahe, IL Department of Ag
  • IL Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy “What and Why Now?” – Lauren Lurkins, IL Farm Bureau
  • Soil Health – Dr. Laura & Lowell Gentry, University of Illinois
  • Weed Management Technology – Clay Mitchell, IA farmer & Dr. Mark Bernards, WIU
  • Farmer Panel Discussion with local producers
  • Trends in Cover Crops in the Corn Belt – Myers, University of Missouri
CRP Pollinator Workshop with Pheasants Forever

CRP Pollinator Workshop with Pheasants Forever

Pollinator PictureSeptember 18th, 6:30 PM

Connolly Farm
Junction of Coyne Center Road (45th St)
and 148th Avenue
Milan, IL (click for map)

RSVP’s Required
Call: (309) 660-3147

Pheasants Forever is holding a CRP Pollinator workshop in conjunction with the Rock Island County NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation District. The event will be held September 18th at 6:30 p.m. at Ed and Teri Connolly’s farm in Rock Island County.

The workshop will focus on how to enroll ground in the CRP Pollinator program and how to use the program to enhance wildlife on your property.  Presentations will be given by Brandon Bleuer, the Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist for Pheasants Forever.  Representatives from NRCS and Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District will also speak and be available to answer questions.

Women Caring for the Land Event

Women who own or manage farmland in Rock Island, Mercer and surrounding counties are invited to participate in a free conservation discussion and field tour on August 21 in Reynolds.  The program is called Women Caring for the Land.

The meeting will be held Thursday, August 21 and starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Reynolds American Legion, 501 Main Street, Reynolds, IL 61279. We will provide a continental breakfast, lunch and an optional afternoon field tour which will allow participants to view farmland conservation practices in the area.  The program will end at the American Legion with wrap-up and refreshments at 3 pm.

Nearly half the farmland in Illinois is currently owned or co-owned by women.  More women now manage farmland on their own, as they inherit it from their spouses or parents.  Many women wonder whether they are doing all they can to improve soil and water quality while maintaining high agricultural productivity.  Many are unsure of exactly how to reach their conservation goals and what resources are available to help them.  Women Caring for the Land offers a women-only peer-to-peer, informal discussion format to discuss their individual land stewardship goals and share information with one another.  Women conservationists will help facilitate the discussion and share resources that can help you, such as USDA cost-share programs and other tools.

The afternoon field tour will be focused on soil health practices, including cover crops.  We will not be straying far from the road, but please bring sturdy shoes and sun protection.  We will provide bus transportation for the tour.

Space is limited for this unique opportunity so please RSVP by 4:30 p.m. Monday, August 18 to the Rock Island Soil and Water Conservation District by emailing Sally Ferguson at, or by calling (309) 764-1486, ext. 3.  If you need accommodation please notify Sally when you RSVP.

This session of Women Caring for the Land is sponsored by American Farmland Trust in partnership with the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, and the Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District.  Staff from these organizations as well as USDA NRCS will be on hand to answer your questions. More information can be found at:

We promise to make it a fun and interesting day, and hope you can join us!

See more details on The Cities at the 13:30 mark.