Results and Accomplishments
The USDA, State agencies, conservation districts, the farm community, and private groups are combining Federal and State cost-share dollars under the Conservation Reserve Program to spur voluntary conservation practices. Incentives help farmers reduce sediment and nutrients reaching the River and its tributaries, while maintaining or enhancing the region’s economy.
The Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited and other CREP partners are important contributors to the Illinois project. The State selected the project area, the conservation issues, and the conservation practices to be established.
Already, 110,843 acres of bottomlands are being restored, which is expected to reduce soil erosion by 2.5 million tons per year. Aerial surveys show signifi cant increases in waterfowl; more than 70,000 ducks were found on a recently restored section. The project will also reduce floods and reduce the cost of dredging water treatment.
Partners contribute valuable time and resources to supplement USDA funds. The State has supplied more than $50 million in cost-share and other funding, including the purchase of permanent easements. The Farm Bureau provides outreach funds, and local conservation districts deliver technical assistance. The Nature Conservancy is assessing best management practices in the CREP project area to quantify the environmental benefi ts of these practices.