Conservation Staff Members Hit the Ground Running

Article by: Ted Kratschmer, ekratsch@lc.edu

Conservation staff from the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠) may be coming to a watershed near you. 

As of Oct. 1, NGRREC℠ has deployed four staff members to work across the Kaskaskia River and Illinois River watersheds with agricultural conservation partners on the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) - a federal-state partnership to establish stream buffers, restore wetlands, improve habitat and permanently protect these restorations and buffers from conversion.

Plans are in the works to add two additional staff in Lincoln, Ill. and Marion, Ill. to augment the efforts of federal, state, local and NGO partners working on the ground with the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

"There's a good deal of funding available to private landowners through federal and state programs to get conservation on the ground. A small investment in human capital can leverage substantial funding to do conservation in our Illinois watersheds and impact our big river ecosystems," said Jake Hendee, agricultural conservation programs field manager with NGRREC℠. "The suite of research and education programs at the NGRREC℠ hub especially fuels our ability to pilot innovative, agile, and science-based approaches to conservation."

This effort, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, will continue through 2015.

Current conservation staff include Philip Cox, hosted by the Fayette County Soil and Water Conservation District; Jake Hendee, hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in Springfield; Lyndsey Ramsey, hosted by the DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Elisa Royce, at NGRREC℠.

For more information, contact NGRREC℠ at ngrrec@lc.edu or the conservation staff person in your area directly.

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