$13.3M awarded for conservation planning in Ill.

According to the state, the project will allow the addition of up to 40 conservation planners...
According to the state, the project will allow the addition of up to 40 conservation planners across the state of Illinois.(Pexels)
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 12:53 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and Conservation Planning Assistance approved a grant agreement for more than $13.3 million in new funding for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

According to a release from the state, the IDOA/NRCS partnership leverages $3.5 million Illinois state NLRS funds with $9.8 million of federal funds from the USDA/NRCS.

They said the project will allow the addition of up to 40 conservation planners across the state of Illinois.

The conservation planners will be recruited and supervised by IDOA and hired by a subcontract hiring agent with the Sangamon County Soil and Water Conservation District.

According to the release, the planners will increase Conservation Reserve Program technical assistance for planning, implementation and maintenance. They will increase capacity to develop new conservation plans and to conduct conservation implementation follow-up to improve conservation successes.

“This historic funding increases investments in agricultural conservation and nutrient management rest on human capacity,” Governor JB Pritzker said in the release. “Illinois like other states across the nation have noted, we need strong individual, organizational and societal capacity to design and implement conservation measures, adapt them and sustain their impact over time.”

The conservation planners will also support the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy efforts as the latest bi-annual report indicates an increase in overall nutrients being lost to Illinois streams and rivers.

In addition, the new planners will be able to help with the IDOA conservation programs to increase overall producer opportunities to participate in state and federal conservation programs.

Through this partnership with the USDA NRCS conservation programs, according to the release, Illinois producers and landowners will have increased opportunities to improve their nutrient management planning, advance soil health and contribute to the reduction in nutrient losses to Illinois streams, rivers and lakes.