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Grants Available to Implement Conservation in Lake Decatur’s Watershed


DECATUR, IL- The Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) today announced an invitation for project applications that will result in nutrient and sediment reductions in Lake Decatur’s watershed. The watershed is comprised of 925 square miles of land that ultimately drains to the lake, including eastern Macon County, northern Piatt County, southeastern Dewitt County, and parts of 4 other counties. This request for applicants focuses on the watershed in the three highlighted counties.

Since Lake Decatur was built in 1922, promoting conservation in the watershed has been a top priority for the City of Decatur. With 87% of the watershed’s land in row crop agriculture, implementing ag conservation practices is very important. In a 2008 study completed by the SWCD and its partners, it was determined the sediment coming into Lake Decatur is coming from the following major sources: 70% from sheet and rill erosion, 13% from ephemeral erosion, and 8% streambank erosion. Whenever soil is dislodged and moved, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are also displaced and move into the streams and rivers.

Types of practices to reduce nutrient and sediment loss can include: grassed waterways, terraces, grade stabilization structures, streambank stabilization, filter strips, sediment basins, wetlands, and field borders. Non-structural practices may include no-till/strip-till, cover crops, or nutrient management.

“In order to compete for state and federal funds for the installation of conservation practices, applicable sites must be identified early on in the process. Creating a log of applicants proves the necessity for work, and allows for necessary planning to take place,” said Megan Baskerville, watershed specialist for the SWCD.

Applicants must secure matching funds equal to at least 45% of the total project costs in order to supplement potential grant funds. Although applicants are accepted and encouraged to contact the SWCD office at any time, the office is encouraging landowners to come forward with potential sites by mid-June.

For more information, contact Megan Baskerville at 217.877.5670 x 3, megan.baskerville@il.nacdnet.net, or visit the USDA Service Center at 4004 College Park Road in Decatur.