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TLC of McHenry County to partner with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County announced it is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to protect working farmland, improve water quality and increase and enhance wildlife habitats in Illinois.

The NRCS has awarded more than
$8 million in federal funds to the Illinois Working Lands, Water and Wildlife Conservation Partnership. TLC has joined an alliance of partnering organizations including the Conservation Fund in planning and coordinating the projects that will be funded through the NRCS’ Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Illinois partners have pledged more than $11.2 million in matching funds to support the initiative. Focused on key conservation priority areas in Illinois, which include all of McHenry County, the partnership intends to build protected habitat corridors along targeted stream segments through the use of permanent conservation easements on working farmland. Conservation practices will be implemented that connect farmland with protected natural lands, prevent runoff and improve water quality, advance agricultural practices that improve soil health, and support farmers and landowner partners.

TLC will use its portion of the award to pay landowners for the value of their conservation easements and work with them to incorporate conservation practices on their farms. The organization will be reaching out to local landowners whose land fits within the priorities of the project.

“If your farmland has wildlife habitat potential or has a creek, wetlands, oak woodlands, protects groundwater or conserves soil, these are some of the resources that fit the program’s goals,” TLC farm program manager Linda Balek said. “We’re focusing on parcels that are a minimum of 35 acres in size.

“The Land Conservancy is committed to the preservation and stewardship of working farmland that results in a healthy local food system while at the same time working with nature instead of against it. We’re excited to be part of this partnership that will help farmland owners preserve and steward the land they love.”

For information about the RCPP, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/rcpp.

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