NGRREC’s Land Conservation Specialist Program Expands to West-Central Illinois

Article by: Louise Jett, L&C Media Services,


MACOMB/GODFREY, IL – The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s (NGRREC℠) Land Conservation Specialist Program is announcing a new position based out of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Macomb, Illinois, at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center.

“NRCS is glad to have such a great relationship with a skilled partner who shares common concerns and common goals for wildlife and natural resources,” said Ivan Dozier, NRCS Illinois State Conservationist.

A newly executed partnership continuation with Illinois NRCS maintains and expands NGRREC’s Land Conservation Specialist Program, which has provided boots-on-the-ground conservation support to Illinois private landowners since 2010.

“Our specialists provide greatly needed technical assistance and one-on-one support to landowners enrolled in USDA Farm Bill conservation programs, as well as provide administrative and programmatic support to NRCS,” said NGRREC Conservation Program Manager Dr. Justin Shew. “We are excited to be expanding to west-central Illinois to assist with putting even more conservation on the ground for the benefit of wildlife and water quality.”

Shew has been managing the assistance provided to NRCS since 2016 and his own applied research is directly linked to the Land Conservation Specialist Program. More information can be found at

Within the past year, from July 2018 to June 2019, NGRREC’s Land Conservation Specialist program has impacted more than 60,851 acres across 33 counties, resulting from the creation of 2,968 work products for NRCS conservation programs. Also, a sizable proportion of this work was implemented in the Lewis and Clark Community College District.

Current NGRREC staff who support landowners and NRCS include Laura Jackson (Murphysboro, Illinois), Spencer Woodward (Petersburg, Illinois), Trenton Fisk (Vandalia, Illinois), Megan Cosgriff, Robin Ingersoll, and Lyle Guyon (East Alton, Illinois).

Cosgriff, Ingersoll, Guyon and Shew work directly from the NGRREC Field Station supporting landowners mostly in the Lewis and Clark Community College District; Jackson, Woodward and Fisk remain remotely stationed in USDA Service Centers working in a multi-county area around their home office.

Staff support focuses on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Agriculture Conservation Easements Program and Wetland Reserve Easement (ACEP/WRE) Program of the USDA Farm Bill. NGRREC has helped with everything from writing prescribed burned plans for enrolled CRP fields to conducting biological and compliance monitoring for NRCS’s ACEP/WRE.

Interested conservationists are encouraged to apply to become the newest NGRREC Land Conservation Specialist stationed out of Macomb, Illinois at

This position will concentrate land conservation work in the counties of McDonough, Schuyler, Brown, Adams and Hancock in west-central Illinois. For more information or questions regarding this position, please contact Shew at

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠)

Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities. To learn more about NGRREC, visit

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