We fund farmer-driven projects that improve farms and fish habitat
My Land Was Washing Away
Jim Cottrell raises cattle, corn and soybeans on 1250 acres southwest of St. Louis. In October 2022, on a farm his folks bought on Huzzah Creek in 1927, excavators broke ground on a big project.
“For years, it made me sick to see what was happening on that creek,” said Jim. “Stream banks were eroding. We lost a lot of ground, and there wasn’t much use fishing any more. My land was washing away.”
A mutual friend urged Cottrell to call Rob Pulliam (Missouri Department of Conservation). Jim had worked with Pulliam before, and trusted him. “He needed engineering,” said Pulliam, “so I brought in Steve Herrington (The Nature Conservancy) and Abigail Lambert (Ozark Land Trust). We came up with funding and a project that’s a win for everyone.”
On this sunny October afternoon, excavators on the site are cutting back banks to make room for tree root balls, logs, stone and burrito-like soil lifts designed to hold their own when water rises. After the banks are reshaped, native grasses and forbs will be planted and later harvested.
Said Lambert, “Rob and the Shoal Creek Woodlands for Wildlife farmer-led committee primed the pump by listening, showing what can be done, and bringing in partners like Fishers & Farmers to fit pieces together across the watershed.”
The watershed was named one of 10 Waters To Watch by the National Fish Habitat Partnership in 2022.
Funding For Stream/Farm Projects
Fishers & Farmers Partnership awards National Fish Habitat Partnership funding to locally-led projects in upper Mississippi River Basin watersheds each year. Funded projects improve farms and fish habitat; address a root cause of watershed problems; support landowner engagement, communications, monitoring, science, or construction; and align with our Strategic Plan. Non-government, county, state or federal agriculture and natural resources organizations may apply. One-to-one cost share is required. Applications are available in the last quarter of the year, due in February. Decisions are made in March.
If you have a project in mind, we encourage you to reach out to a Fishers & Farmers Partnership steering committee member or our coordinator Heidi Keuler for an informal conversation. We want local teams to meet their goals, and we can advise about project design, resources, and our selection criteria.
- Coordination & communication
- Dam removal
- Managed grazing
- Monitoring & data
- Nutrient retention
- Outreach & demonstrations
- Peer-to-peer learning & mentoring
- Perennial cover & buffers
- Soil health & cover crops
- Stream & wetland restoration
- Water retention & sediment control
Fishers & Farmers Partnership is funding coordination, communications and science positions.
Valley Stewardship Network, Tainter Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council, West Fork Watershed Neighbors Council, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Madison, UW-LaCrosse, Wisconsin DNR, City of Viroqua and Viroqua FFA are building watershed councils, STRIPS, and FFA regenerative ag activity.
Farmers, Mower SWCD, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, a consultant and others in Root River Field to Stream Partnership are demonstrating and communicating about Prairie Strips on 10-20 targeted sites.
FFP GIS/science/outreach staff are communicating fish habitat conservation strategies that benefit UMRB streams, informing strategic habitat conservation plans, monitoring social drivers and engaging people in conservation.
FFP GIS/science/outreach staff are communicating fish habitat conservation strategies that benefit UMRB streams/rivers, informing strategic habitat conservation plans and engaging people in conservation action.
FFP is communicating to engage farmers in project demonstrations and farmer-led committee assembly.