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Latest News

 

AISWCD Seeking S.T.A.R. Coordinator

Please take a moment to review this exciting new position announcement!
 

 

Join the CCSWCD and American Farmland Trust in a Conservation Conversation for Women in Agriculture!

Two identical sessions will be held virtually for women to gather and discuss soil health, cover crops, and conservation opportunities.

 

Option 1: July 21st, 8:00-9:30 am 
Option 2: July 22nd, 1:00-2:30 pm 

Women registering for either session are invited to join an “Ask Me Anything” session that is scheduled for Friday July 24th 12-1pm --> We apologize for any inconvenience, but due to low registration, the AMA session has been cancelled.  Our staff from Champaign County SWCD and American Farmland Trust are always available for questions and to help anytime, please do not hesitate to contact us.     
 

 

Questions? Contact Erin Bush, erin.bush@il.nacdnet.net.

 

 

2020 S.T.A.R.

The 2020 field form has a new look this year and materials and information is being posted for the 2020 crop year.  Click on S.T.A.R. to get answers to your questions and find out your S.T.A.R. rating.  

 

SWCDs Need Your Help

We are 11 months into FY20 and districts across Illinois, including the Champaign County SWCD, have not recieved vital state funding.  The AISWCD has released a new grassroots advocacy email message via the AISWCD E-Action Center. Lawmakers will return to Springfield beginning next week to work to pass a budget, amongst other items. Your help is needed to advocate for funding issues, as well as the release of FY20 funding. Help us make your voices heard!

 

NACD Stewardship Week, Day 5

We hope you have enjoyed the Pollinator Resources this week.  Please be sure to check out today's issue and our special interview.  We were so happy for the oppotunity to speak with  Rachel Coventry from Curtis Orchard! She has a wealth of pollinator knowledge!

NACD Stewardship Week, Day 4

Please remember all the NACD resources (Booklets, Placemat, Bookmark and Education Guide) are free on the NACD website.  

NACD Stewardship Week, Day 3

NACD Stewardship Week, Day 2

NACD Stewardship Week is Here..... Where Would We BEE Without Pollinators?

Each day this week, we will post materials, videos, activities and information on pollinators.  Please check out Day 1!
 

Interview with Bruce Henrikson, S.T.A.R. Program Coordinator

 

Your Voice is Needed to Help SWCDs

I hope you and your families are staying healthy and safe. The Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District is committed to working towards clean water and healthy soils across the county and state of Illinois. Your support of our district allows us to complete this mission each year. We wanted to make you aware of the request from the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts to take a couple of minutes to use their new tool to reach out to your local legislators to show your support of your local SWCD!
 
Message from Grant Hammer, AISWCD Executive Director:
“As you likely know, the spring legislative session of the Illinois General Assembly is currently on hold due to efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. It is unknown when lawmakers will reconvene in Springfield. The Illinois House of Representatives just today cancelled their session scheduled for next week and have extended bill deadlines into late April and early May. From what I know at this point, it would appear that lawmakers will return to Springfield in April for a day or two to handle a singular matter, and then will likely return in May for a condensed session to pass a budget and other high priority legislation. Unfortunately, these current circumstances have adversely impacted the advocacy work AISWCD has done to date. We are currently assessing our options moving forward and are exploring new strategies to advocate for this funding.
 
You can help, however! These strange times do present us with an opportunity - lawmakers are at home in their districts and are more attuned to constituent matters. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider taking advantage of the AISWCD’s new grassroots digital advocacy platform to ask your lawmakers to support increased funding for SWCDs.
 
I would encourage you to use the tool to send a message, and further, share this tool with contacts who support SWCDs.
 
You may visit the AISWCD E-Action (located at aiswcd.org) center by clicking HERE!”
 

 

Fish Sale Pickup has been Postponed

Thank you for your fish order.  During this unprecedented time,
our main goal must be the safety and welfare of everyone involved.  After discussions with the fish farm, it has been determined the best plan of action is to postpone the fish pickup and pond deliveries.
 
Without knowing when state employees will be allowed to make their routine visits to the fish farm, we cannot schedule a pickup date at this time. 
 
We will keep you posted as soon as a plan is in place.  If you have questions or concerns, please call Renee at 217-202-5986 or email Hannah at Hannah.mcdonald@il.nacdnet.net (SWCD personnel are working remotely at this time).   
 
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
 

 

Staff is working remotely

Like everyone else, the CCSWCD is in unfamiliar territory as we address the COVID-19 concerns.  The district board would like SWCD employees to work remotely at this time.  Please feel free to email or call us with any questions.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.
 
Hannah McDonald, Conservation Coordinator: Email Hannah or call 309-740-0032
Erin Bush, Resource Conservationist: Email Erin or call 815-317-6410
 
 

 

Newsletter is Now Available

Our January 2020 Newsletter is filled with information on upcoming meetings and sales and well as articles to keep you updated on habitat and conservation opportunities.  
 

 

 

S.T.A.R. - New Press Release Issued

 
S.T.A.R.'s highlights for 2018:
-  180 participants on 438 fields, for a total of 27,418 acres on Illinois land
-  382 of hte 438 fields participating recieved 3 stars or higher on a 5-star scale, or more than 87 percent.
-  Champaign County is now joined by 42 other Illinois counties also participating in the program. 
 
S.T.A.R. participants complete a field form that is scored by a local reviewer, which then assigns points for everything from the cover crops used on acreage, to the kinds of fertilizer used for nutrient management at different points before and during the growing season, to various possible conservation practices used on that field to prevent runoff into nearby water sources.
 
S.T.A.R. uses a science committee of university researchers and other experts to ensure the field forms accurately compare practices used and how those effect the natural resources of the state. Fields are then ranked on the 5-star scale, and participants receive a sign for their fields to identify their S.T.A.R. designation.
 
The program touts several key benefits for more participation: decreasing nutrient loss in the soil and encouraging other farmers to help meet the state’s nutrient loss reduction goals; increasing net farm income and possible new markets to sell crops grown using conservation practices; and supporting the ongoing work of soil and water conservation districts to preserve and promote the state’s natural resources.
 
 
 

S.T.A.R. for 2019

The S.T.A.R. program is now open for the 2019 Crop Year after a very successful 2018 year. There were 436 fields and 27,157 acres rated for 181 different individuals in 41 different counties! In fact, 41 other counties are now licensed to offer S.T.A.R. program.
 
In May, 2018, we received a formal endorsement from the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture that can be viewed here.
 
 

 
    

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make the spring prescribed burn at the Barnhart Prairie a success. 

 
 

 

Please check our our YouTube Channel for Educational and Informational Videos

 

 

St. Joseph Wetland Restoration and Education Project Update:

The CCSWCD is working to complete the educational center at our St. Joseph Wetland site.  Construction began this spring, and the 90' long concrete entrance of Illinois Route 150 is complete.  Donations are being accepted from those who want to be part of this exciting opportunity for environmental education and enjoyment. The education center will include a permeable pavement for parking, bio-retention basins and raingardens, educational signage around a viewing area and seating benches built by high school students at St. Joseph-Ogden.  The site has already been used by many groups and individuals, and the local Boy Scout troop, along with others, will be part of completing the center. Please help us bring this premier outdoor classroom to life so all can learn about the flora and fauna of a wetland.  To learn more, please check out our history and plans for education at the St. Joseph Wetland Restoration and Education Site. 
 
 

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