Cahokia Creek Landowner/Farmer Survey: Land Management Practices & Funding

Dear Landowner/Farmer,
As an owner and steward of some of southwestern Illinois’ finest land, you already know the importance of clean water and a thriving agricultural economy to our region. You’re probably also aware of issues with flooding, poor water quality, topsoil loss, and streambank erosion.

Madison County Planning & Development and HeartLands Conservancy are working on watershed planning and implementation of Best Management Practices to address these issues. We’d love your input. 

Please take this opportunity to read about the Cahokia Creek Watershed Planning efforts underway in the county, funding sources for implementing Best Management Practices, and the types of practices eligible. Then take our quick survey to let us know what your issues are and what you would like to do! 

Cahokia Creek Watershed Planning
Two watershed plans are being created for the two Cahokia Creek watersheds (see below). Watershed plans offer an opportunity to address water quality and flooding problems in a strategic way.

Within the Cahokia Creek watersheds, water quality issues have been identified in the streams, and flooding has been reported both inside and outside of floodplains. (You may have received the Madison County Community Flood Survey in 2015, which found widespread flooding experienced by respondents in the last 10 years). Funded by Madison County, the watershed plans gather information and feedback from the public to identify drainage and water quality issues and types of projects that can effectively address them.

Grants Available
Watershed plans can open new doors to funding. One of the goals of watershed planning is to identify sources of funding to implement projects. Several grants may be available in future to farmers and landowners in the Cahokia Creek watersheds to pay for land  conservation, restoration, and management practices.

A 319 grant from Illinois EPA can help with construction costs of practices that protect soil and water quality. HeartLands Conservancy and the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) received this type of grant for the Upper Silver Creek watershed in 2016, providing over $500,000 towards construction. HeartLands has also helped distribute $2.7 million to landowners in Clinton County through the 319 grant program over the past 14 years.

Other grant programs through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) include the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which includes Agricultural Land Easements and Wetland Reserve Easements. Each program has a different focus and distributes funds in a different way. A cost share (monetary contribution from the landowner) is almost always needed; amounts and proportions vary depending on the grant and project.

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Best Management Practices (BMPs) that may be eligible for funding include the following:

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