TREMONT, Ill. (Oct. 10, 2016) — Farmers and landowners interested in reducing soil erosion, improving water and soil quality, and providing wildlife and pollinator habitat are invited to apply for Trees Forever’s Illinois Buffer Partnership. Trees Forever is taking applications until December 31.
The Illinois Buffer Partnership is a collaborative partnership of Trees Forever, the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices, Syngenta, GROWMARK, state and federal government agencies, Trees Forever members and participating landowners.
Together the group promotes and showcases the voluntary conservation efforts of Illinois farmers and landowners, such as 2015 participants Mike and Doneta Reeser of rural Woodford County.
The Reesers had been trying to establish a windbreak for years prior to participating in the program, but the couple lost many trees early on and had a hard time controlling the weeds.
“This project has been trial and error and I’ve learned that species diversity and weed suppression are the keys to a successful planting,” Mike Reeser said. “If I’d have known then, what I know now, I would have planted many more varieties of species and not so many of the same kind.”
The Illinois Buffer Partnership helped the Reesers pay for a variety of trees, including hackberries and white pines, and a Trees Forever field coordinator helped answer his questions.
Now the Illinois Buffer Partnership is looking for the next round of participants. Each year, between ten to 20 Illinois Buffer Partnership participants are selected to receive cost-share assistance up to $2,000 for 50 percent of their expenses, on-site assistance from Trees Forever field staff, project signs and the opportunity to host a field day to highlight their project.
Types of conservation projects eligible for the Illinois Buffer Partnership program include: riparian buffers, livestock buffers, streambank stabilization projects, wetland development, pollinator habitat, rain gardens and agroforestry projects.