We fund farmer-driven projects that improve farms and fish habitat
Conservation Project Failures Generate a New, Science-Based Approach
The Monroe County Land Conservation Department started experiencing an increase in conservation project failures as storm events caused significant flood damage to streambanks, stream crossings, and dam structures throughout this southern Wisconsin county.
“These frequent flooding events are impacting the effectiveness of conservation practices currently being used in streambank restoration projects,” said Monroe County Land Conservation Director, Bob Micheel. “Our conservation failures are jeopardizing soil health and water quality by increasing soil erosion and sediment delivery to the County’s 200+ miles of trout streams.”
With funding from Fishers & Farmers, Monroe County LCD was able to install two monitoring stations in the Little La Crosse River watershed AND restore 3,195 linear feet of deteriorating streambank. The Monroe County Climate Change Task Force then leveraged funding from other grant programs to build a robust flood monitoring system network throughout southern Monroe County. Over the course of this project, 27 flood monitoring stations were purchased and installed in the Little La Crosse, Upper Kickapoo and Coon Creek watersheds. This was an opportunity to build technical capacity and strong regional partnerships.
“We knew we had to develop a county wide, systematic approach to conservation,” said Bob. “Funding from Fishers & Farmers helped us kick start this effort and led to leveraged funding from other grant programs to complete the monitoring system.”
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.