Here’s something you might not associate with agriculture: These landowners are picking up fish to stock their ponds, at the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office in Champaign, Ill. The landowners pay for their fish, but the district makes it easy to obtain them and orders them from a reliable supplier, Pete Reiff of Logan Hollow Fish Farm in Murphysboro, Ill. On this day, Reiff delivered more than 2,800 fish of various sizes and species.
If it involves natural resource conservation on private land, a local conservation district is almost certain to be involved. The first such district originated in the late 1930s, to help citizens respond to the terrible soil erosion of the Dust Bowl era. Today, there are more than 3,000 such districts, meeting the conservation needs of localities all across the U.S.
Besides fish, the Champaign County SWCD is involved in a host of activities, ranging from helping residents purchase trees to conducting strip-till demonstrations, to assisting other agencies with water quality monitoring studies. The district’s resource conservationist, Bruce Stikkers, recently received a Distinguished Service Award from the Champaign County Pheasants Forever chapter for his work in helping landowners plant grass and legumes for wildlife habitat.
The activities of each conservation district are directed by an elected board made up of local landowners. The districts serve both rural and urban residents.
See all ‘A Day in Agriculture’ coverage.