Funded Project

2024 | Valley Stewardship Network


Applicant Organization: Valley Stewardship Network

Contact: Shelly Benneman



In the Kickapoo and adjacent watersheds, private, working lands conservation is key for watershed protection. Nutrient and sediment runoff from ag erosion and light industrial development is exacerbated by extreme weather events in the region. This region, which is home to the nation’s first watershed project in the Coon Creek Watershed in the 1930’s, is experiencing a tipping point of interest and involvement in farmer-led conservation.

Funding provided by Fishers and Farmers will:

  • Maintain the growth of 5 landowner-led watershed councils; Tainter Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council, West Fork Neighbor’s Watershed Council, Bad Axe Watershed Stewards, Coon Creek Community Watershed Council, and Rush Creek Watershed Conservation Council.
  • Continue the momentum of the Hill Country Watershed Alliance (established through previous Fishers and Farmers funding) which supports the 5 watershed councils above by facilitating leadership trainings for members to further develop individual watershed initiatives.
  • Add youth programming through a Watershed Stewardship Certificate Program and a Youth-Led Watershed Council that would promote leadership development and engagement.
  • Provide technical assistance to the Coon Creek Community Watershed Council to develop a 9 Key Element Watershed Plan.
  • Support ongoing water quality and macroinvertebrate data in 21 sampling locations the Tainter Creek, Coon Creek, Rush Creek, Bad Axe, Kickapoo, and West Fork of the Kickapoo River watersheds.
  • Expand existing management, demonstrations, monitoring, and promotion of prairie STRIPS and other watershed stewardship practices to watershed councils and the local community members.