WOODSTOCK, Ill. — The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has awarded more than $8 million in federal funds for the Illinois Working Lands, Water and Wildlife Conservation Partnership to protect working farmland, improve water quality, and increase and enhance wildlife habitat in rural Illinois.
The Land Conservancy of McHenry County has joined an alliance of partnering organizations including The Conservation Fund in planning and coordinating the projects that will be funded through the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Illinois partners have pledged more than $11.2 million in matching funds to support the initiative.
Focused on key conservation priority areas in Illinois, which includes all of McHenry County, the partnership intends to build protected habitat corridors along targeted stream segments through use of permanent conservation easements on working farmland. Conservation practices will be implemented that connect farmland with protected natural lands, prevent runoff and improve water quality, advance agricultural practices that improve soil health, and support farmers and landowner partners. The Land Conservancy will use its portion of the award to pay landowners for the value of their conservation easements, and work with them to incorporate conservation practices on their farms.
The Land Conservancy will be reaching out to landowners in McHenry County whose land fits within the priorities of this project. “If your farmland has wildlife habitat potential, or has a creek, wetlands, oak woodlands, protects groundwater or conserves soil, these are some of the resources that fit the program’s goals,” said TLC’s Farm Program Manager Linda Balek. “We’re focusing on parcels that are a minimum of 35 acres in size.”
“The Land Conservancy is committed to the preservation and stewardship of working farmland that results in a healthy local food system, while at the same time working with nature instead of against it,” said Balek. “We’re excited to be part of this partnership that will help farmland owners preserve and steward the land they love.”
For more information on the RCPP: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/rcpp/
The Land Conservancy is a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve natural, agricultural and scenic land in and around McHenry County.
— The Land Conservancy of McHenry County
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