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Malone turkey

Conservation Corner

Conservation keeps me busy.

Wed, August 16, 2017

Conservation has kept me busy this year that I have not had much time to do blogging on this site.

I hope to pick that up in the near future.  The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) has been busy this year in Tazewell County.  We submitted over a $1 million dollars in EQIP applications in late March. 

We have obligated over $667,000 in EQIP contracts and at the present time are working on 3 last minute applications selected for funding for another $247,000.  That amounts to 8 contracts encompassing $919,270 dollars in conservation funding for Tazewell County.

Already we are working on planning for EQIP applications for 2018 funding.  However 2017 will be hard to top for the dollar amount obligated.

Some of these contracts (3) involve animal waste storage facilities for swine operations, composters, closure of waste impoundments, access roads, agitators, and nutrient management.  Others funded include best management practices such as cover crops, grassed waterways, grade stabilization structures, water & sediment control basins, forest management plans, and monarch butterfly habitat.

Tazewell County also hosted livestock training for NRCS/SWCD employees in Area 2 in June.  June also saw me go away for a week of Soil Health training in Champaign, IL. 

I was able to get a day and a half of turkey hunting in before I had to come back to participate in the NRCS State Office Quality Assurance Review of the Pekin Field Office.  So I gave up the later 3 days of fourth season turkey hunting to be present for the review.  Which went real well.  In addition we had some good field visits that week to tour the Spring Lake WRP project.  In addition to visiting several livestock farms with our State Office Engineers and discuss the projects that NRCS has assisted local producers install on their farms.  It was a real good experience for me and the producers involved to have our NRCS State Engineers Ruth Book, Matt Robert, and Civil Engineer Technician Jeff Hyett see the operations and projects installed over the years.

I have been squirrel hunting once but not seen a squirrel moving yet before the neighbors dogs got out and started barking.  Then the chain saws started operating on the neighbors on the other side of the woodlot.  So it was a wasted morning.  There will be other times. 

I was unable to draw a blind at the Spring Lake duck blind drawing in July.  However I did go in with a neighbor on a goose pit over in Fulton County.

Cover crops are a topic right now as the farmers are getting ready to get those seeded.  Keep in mind that turnips, oats, winter peas, wheat can be seeded and wildlife will utilize these as a food source.  It was a couple of years ago that a farmer friend of mine seeded radishes, oats, and rape in 60 acres of cover crops.  When we went out to see them, the deer were on site feeding away on the cover crops, which were knee high having been planted by drill in early August following wheat harvest.  As we drove through the fields, the deer went into the timber.  As we returned from inspecting the back fields, the deer were already back in the first fields.

Those cover crops got so tall that they had to mow paths in order to get to their deer stands!  Nothing better for a farmer and his kids than the government paying them an incentive to plant cover crops and they attract the deer for hunting purposes.

Soil health is a big topic right now and I don’t see it going away.  This coming year in Tazewell we will be working on EQIP applications under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program RCPP for Precision Conservation Management.  PCM has EQIP funds in targeted watersheds in Illinois of which Tazewell is one.  Cover Crops, grassed waterways, grade stabilization structures, and water & sediment control basins are some practices that I see being submitted under RCPP PCM. 

Till later.



QUGA banquets

Wed, August 09, 2017

Join Quail and Upland Game Alliance - QUGA for a family fun night for the whole family! This is a night of fundraising for local upland game establishment, hunting, youth events and so much more.

QUGA Chapters across Illinois will hosting banquets with raffles, hunts, guns and of course great food and friends.  Be a member of like-minded conservationists for all your outdoor resources. Contact

any of your neighborhood QUGA Chapters for ticket information or visit us at or on Facebook.

·    Cumberland Trail, Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
Vandalia Moose Lodge, Vandalia, IL -  Doors Open @5:00pm
Contact: Christy Duval Robertson -  618/292-5505

·      River Oaks, Saturday, October 7th, 2017
Outlaws Motor Sport, Harrisburg, IL - Doors Open @5:00pm
Contact: Daniel Cullers -  618/926-5078

·      Sangamon River Valley, Thursday October 12th, 2017
Indian Creek Farmstead, Petersburg, IL - Doors Open @5:00pm
Contact: Alicia Davis Wade -  217/341-5857

·      Logan County, Thursday October 19th, 2017
American Legion, Lincoln, IL - Doors Open @5:00pm
Contact: Kendall Fitzpatrick -  217/737-6869

·      Skillet Fork, January 13th, 2018,
Salem Community Activity Center, Salem, IL -  Doors Open @5:00pm
Contact: Brad Hargis - 618/292-1798







Totally Turtles

Fri, August 04, 2017

NRCS has gone turtle. You heard that right, we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on restoring and managing habitat for the Blanding’s turtle in IL, IN, OH, and MI. The Blanding’s turtle is a large, long-lived turtle featuring a bold yellow throat and a high-domed, dark shell flecked with yellow spots.  The species is currently endangered in Illinois and has been petitioned for a 2023 listing under the Endangered Species Act, unless significant improvements in the turtle’s population can be demonstrated beforehand.

In an effort to proactively boost this turtles populations, NRCS will roll out the 2018 Working Lands for Wildlife Blanding’s Turtle Initiative this fall.  It is our goal that voluntary conservation on working lands, implemented by private landowners, will set this turtle on a secure path to recovery.

The Blanding’s turtle requires large, well-connected wetland complexes consisting of sedge meadows, buttonbush swamps, open bottomland forest, and herbaceous wetlands of varying hydrology.  Also of great importance to the Blanding’s turtle are tree- and shrub-free, sandy, upland nesting areas that lay adjacent to wetland habitats. It is crucial that habitat can be accessed by the turtles without the need to cross roads or risk traffic fatalities. 

Wetland Restoration, Forest Stand Improvement, Brush Management, Herbaceous Weed Treatment, and Structures for Wildlife are just a handful of the NRCS conservation practices that may help bring this turtle back from the brink. 

Spread the word, this fall NRCS will roll out an initiative to help the Blanding’s turtle flourish.  Inquire at your local NRCS Field office for more information.

Adapted from an article by Illinois NRCS State Biologist Jennifer Anderson




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