URBAN & RURAL 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.
Conservation Stewardship Plan Property Tax Assistance
As of October 1st 2007, Illinois landowners with 5 or more contiguous acres of unimproved land may apply for a reduction in their property tax valuation. Landowners who wish to receive the 5% valuation for unimproved land provided by this law (SB17) are required to prepare a Conservation Management Plan according to rules developed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). That Plan will describe how the land will be managed to protect and maintain environmental resources. When a Conservation Management Plan (CSP) is approved, the county assessor of the properties that have qualified for the special valuation will be notified and the necessary adjustment in the valuation will be made.
The Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District has established a service to assist local residents with the development and submittal of their Conservation Stewardship Plan (CSP). In some cases, landowners can reduce their assessment from over 33 percent of the property’s market value to 5 percent. Larger parcels, in some cases, will also be eligible for USDA cost share programs to assist with any expense associated with establishing their plan.
For more information, contact Kim Mitchell at (815) 462-3106, ext. 3.
Well Decommissioning Practice
Improperly abandoned wells may be a direct conduit for pollutants to enter aquifers and contaminate groundwater shared by all citizens. The Well Decommissioning Practice (WDP) provides technical and financial assistance to owners of improperly abandoned wells who wish to seal those wells to protect groundwater from potential contamination.
Survey and Engineering Assistance
Survey and Engineering Assistance expertise is needed to plan, design, and assist in the construction of any conservation practice to address a natural resource concern.
The Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District has a Professional Engineer (P.E.) on staff who is available to help anyone who has a need for survey and engineering assistance.
Drainage and Flood Assistance
Drainage and flood concerns may be significant for any landowner. The types and textures of soils have a major influence on both occurrences. Also, another important factor is the type and adequacy of the outlet for runoff draining from upstream areas.
The Will-South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District has a Professional Engineer on staff who is available to assist anyone who has drainage or flooding concerns.
For more information contact Neil Pellmann at (815)462-3106 ext 3.
Pond Design and Maintenance
Ponds can be very beneficial and attractive; however, many factors need to be considered in the planning, designing, construction and maintenace of them. Recognizing the existence and incorporation of local, state and federal authorities/guidelines in the planning of a pond are essential. A pond may have many uses planned into its functioning, i.e., livestock watering, fish and wildlife, recreation, fire control, and other related uses. They may be either an embankment or an excavated type of a pond.
The SWCD has a Professional Engineer on staff who is available to assist anyone who is considering the planning, design or construction of a pond. Assistance is also available to answer questions or make recommendations dealing with pond maintenance.
Soil Fertility Testing Program: Don't Guess, Get a Soil Test!
The Will South Cook SWCD will be offering a low-cost soil testing program to help residents make informed decisions about the management of soil nutrients.
Soil tests provide information on fertilizer needs which help you save money and time as well as protect the environment from contaminated runoff from over-fertilization.
Soil tests should be taken in the spring or fall for established sites and at any time of year for new seeding and plantings. Taking a soil test every two to three years is usually adequate to monitor nutrient levels; however you may need to test more frequently if management practices change.
Staff at the Conservation District will help you interpret the results of your test, which will include specific fertilizer recommendations for your crop.
For questions or more information, call the SWCD office at (815) 462-3106 ext.3.