Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District

Latest News

Illinois Officials Release Third Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Report

The Directors of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are announcing the release of Illinois’ third Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) Biennial Report. The Report describes the continued progress being made in Illinois as well as challenges to reduce nutrient losses from multiple sources to improve water quality in Illinois and downstream to reduce the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The 2021 Biennial Report highlights accomplishments and new efforts from each sector, which were noteworthy given the increase in precipitation events experienced in Illinois and other states within the Mississippi River basin,” said Illinois EPA Director John Kim. “Work continues by all partners to incorporate additional recommended practices to achieve needed nutrient reductions. We remain committed to the goals established in the 2015 Strategy and look forward to continuing our efforts alongside all stakeholders as we address these challenges.”

Through its Partners for Conservation cost-share program, IDOA assisted farmers by redirecting funds to implement an additional 93,750 acres of cover crops after a historic flooding in 2019. The Department’s Fall Covers for Spring Savings program also supported 50,000 additional acres of cover crops in 2019. This year’s report shows Illinois farmers are reporting increased knowledge of the Strategy, which resulted in an increase in cover crops, with 1.4 million acres planted, representing a 135% increase from 2011.

The next Biennial Report will be published in 2023. The agencies and organizations leading this effort will continue to collaborate and invest in programs that meet the goals of the Illinois NLRS. To read the full report, click here.

CRP Increases Rates

Starting in October, the USDA Farm Service Agency will be accepting offers for specific conservation practices under the Conservation Reserve Program continuous signup. Under the continuous CRP signup, environmentally sensitive cropland devoted to certain  conservation practices can be enrolled at any time.  The rental rates for CRP are higher than last year and cost-share percentage has been increased.  Common practices eligible for continuous CRP include grassed waterways, vegetative and riparian filter strips, pollinator habitat, wetland restoration, windbreak and shelterbelts and shallow water areas.

Landowners thinking about enrolling new acres under the CRP, also should contact the FSA office to  determine eligibility and practice requirements.  They can also contact our office in Milan to answer questions and discuss possible CRP opportunities. This is a great time to add some conservation to your farm!

**To be eligible for CRP, the land must have been owned for one year and was cropped (corn, soybeans, oats, wheat, etc) for 4 out of six years from 2013 to 2018.


We are excited to announce that we have been awarded an Illinois EPA 604b Watershed Planning Grant for Mill Creek Watershed in lower Rock Island County! The development of a watershed plan is a large-scale effort to assess and document resource concerns throughout the watershed in order to generate future cost-share opportunities for landowners, address natural resource issues and improve water quality. Utilizing a watershed approach is an innovative tactic to reducing nutrient losses from agricultural landscapes.

This effort is a partnership between the Mill Creek Steering Committee, Rock Island County SWCD and University of Illinois Extension and will be led by Jeff Boekler of Northwater Consulting. Any stakeholders or community members that are interested in allowing access to your property to conduct the watershed survey should contact Rich Stewart at 309-581- 3007. We need the community’s help in order to fully assess the watershed and the resource concerns within it. All involvement is completely voluntary and no personal information will be obtained or shared. We are working to protect sustainable water quality in your community for future generations.

Rock Island County to Host Regional PCM Position

Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, and Knox Counties are now represented as PCM's newest region by Precision Conservation Specialist, Lou Liva. Lou is excited to return to the region after graduating from Augustana College in 2012. He looks forward to using his background in science education to help farmers examine a financial perspective of conservation.

Precision Conservation Management (PCM) is the premier conservation program of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. The program, which is free to join, assists farmers in adopting conservation practices by providing unique aggregate reports and cost share opportunities as well as one-on-one consultations that assess the cost benefits of in-field and improve on-farm decision making.

Our 7.5 foot Great Plains No-Till Seeding Drill is available for rent for fall seeding.

Can be used for grain, small seed or native grasses. Rent our drill for $100/day + $12/acre. Pick-up at our office in Milan. All proceeds support conservation in Rock Island County.

Upcoming Events

Name Day Loc and Time
Flower & Garden Show @ QCCA Expo Center 3/25-3/27  
Local Area Workgroup Meeting @ Hauberg Civic Center 3/30 6:15pm
Tree Planting @ Illiniwek Forest Preserve 4/2  
SWCD Board meeting 4/5 5pm
Copperas Creek Stakeholder meeting @ Illinois City Town Hall 4/7 10am
Tree Sale Pick-up @ QCCA North Hall 4/21 & 4/22 9am-5pm
SWCD Board Meeting (TENTATIVE) 5/3  
Fish Pick-up @ QCCA Expo Parking Lot 5/6 8am - 11am
Plant Pick-up @ QCCA North Hall 5/19-5/20 9am - 5pm
Plant Pop-Up Sale @ QCCA North Hall 5/21 9am - noon
SWCD Board meeting 6/7 5pm
Wetland & Pond Technology event @ QCCA Wetland Education Center, East Moline 6/17 8am - 4pm
Bi-CAN BioBlitz @ Sunderbruch Park/Fairmont Cemetary 6/24-6/25  

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Contact Us

Rock Island SWCD
NRCS Milan Service Center
3020 1st Avenue East
(309) 764-1486 X 3