AGRICULTURE CONSERVATION PROGRAMS
The Will-South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District operates several programs that address the effects of development upon the area’s natural resources.
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
Avoluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private lands and nonindustrial private forest land. It provides both technical assistance and cost share payments to help:
Promote the restoration of declining or important native fish and wildlife species.
Protect, restore, develop or enhance fish and wildlife habitat to benefit at-risk species.
Reduce the impacts of invasive species in fish and wildlife habitat.
Protect, restore, develop or enhance declining or impairedaquatic wildlife species habitat.
THIS PROGRAM WAS REPEALED IN 2014 HOWEVER EXISTING CONTRACTS ARE STILL SUPPORTED
Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)
A voluntary conservation program that provides assistance to farmers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land.
Through EQIP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides assistance to agricultural producers in a manner that will promote agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals, optimize environmental benefits, and help farmers to meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental requirements. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.
Nutrient Management Plan (NMP)
Eligible under the CPP program, this plan is to provide an incentive and an educational tool to assist agricultural producers in optimizing the application of nutrients for plant production while minimizing offsite impacts to the environment and protecting water quality. Eligibility is limited to fields where the next crop planted is scheduled for an application of N, P, or K fertilizer.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
Authorized under the 1985 Food Security Act (FSA). It is a voluntary program that encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland and other environmentally sensitive cropland areas to permanent vegetative cover. Permanent cover options include grasses, and legumes, tree plantings, wildlife plantings, filter strips, and riparian buffers. Farmers receive an annual rental payment for the term of the multiyear contracts. Cost share assistance is provided to establish the vegetative cover practices.
George Johnson stands amongst native grasses and forbs planted on his property with CRP assistance.
Streambank Stabilization and Restoration Program (SSRP)
Designed to demonstrate effective, inexpensive vegetative and bio-engineering techniques for limiting streambank erosion. Program monies fund demonstration projects at suitable locations statewide and provide cost-share assistance to landowners with severely eroding streambanks. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois' soil and water conservation districts (SWCD's) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (NRCS) serve as partners in implementing the program.
Conservation Practices Program (CPP)
Provides cost-share assistance for the construction or adoption of projects that conserve soil, reduce erosion, and protect and improve water quality. Practices include Well Decommissioning Projects (WDP), Nutrient Management Planning (NMP), and erosion control practices such as grassed waterways, terraces, and water & sediment control basins.
Strips of grass seeded in areas of cropland where water concentrates or flows off a field. Benefits of grassed waterways are the shaping of a natural drainageway and establishment of grass to prevent gully erosion and the formation of gullies in fields. The natural channel carries water runoff from the field while the grass prevents the water from forming a gully. Vegetation amongst the waterway may also trap sediment washed from cropland, absorb some chemicals and nutrients in the runoff water and provide cover for small birds and animals. Grass waterways are easier to cross with farm machinery than are natural gullies.
Water & Sediment Control Basin
A Water and Sediment Control Basin is an earth embankment or a combination ridge and channel constructed across the slope of minor watercourses to form a sediment trap and water detention basin with a stable outlet. This practice is applied to reduce watercourse and gully erosion, trap sediment, and reduce and manage onsite and downstream runoff.
An earth embankment or a combination ridge and channel constructed across the field slope that intercepts, detains, and safely conveys runoff to an outlet. Terraces are used to reduce sheet-and-rill erosion and prevent gully development. Terracing reduces sediment pollution to lakes and streams, and traps phosphorus attached to sediment particles. Terraces may also retain runoff for moisture conservation.
Strips or areas of herbaceous vegetation that removes contaminants from overland flow. Filter strips reduce suspended solids and associated contaminants in runoff, reduce dissolved contaminants loadings in runoff, and reduce suspended solids and associated contaminants in irrigation tailwater.