Vermillion Headwaters Watershed Partnership
The Vermilion Headwaters is one of Illinois’ newest watersheds in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s “Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative” (MRBI). The initiative is working to improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin’s water quality and wildlife habitat by helping producers voluntarily implement certain conservation practices.
“This new project is the direct result of the hard work and participation of farmers in the neighboring Indian Creek Watershed,” said Terry Bachtold, agriculture coordinator with Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District. “Over 60 percent of farmers in Indian Creek are implementing conservation practices without compromising profitability of their farms, demonstrating that voluntary action does work.”
Due to the watershed’s priority status, there is extra funding from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for the Vermilion Headwaters. If your farm is in the watershed, you can apply for this cost-share money by contacting Eric McTaggart, the NRCS District Conservationist at (815) 844-6127 ext. 3; firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Ford and Livingston SWCDs are partnering with the American Farmland Trust to promote these programs and engage with local farmers, landowners and Ag dealers on these issues. In 2015, a steering committee was formed of local farmers, Ag dealers, and Ag agency representatives to direct our efforts. Last year we held a soil health field day, and surveyed local producers to establish a baseline level of conservation to measure our progress against. Please contact us if you would like to join the Vermilion Headwaters Steering committee, or to get email updates on our progress.