2018 ISAP Saturated Buffer
The Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership (ISAP) is a coalition of organizations (The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Corn Growers Association, American Farmland Trust, Illinois Central College, Soil Health Partnership, The Zea Mays Foundation, The Wetlands Initiative, Precision Conservation Management) working collaboratively on agriculture programs that promote whole system conservation solutions focused on soil health and water management to reduce nutrient losses and meet sustainability goals. ILICA recently served on the steering committee for ISAP's newest initiative, the Advanced Conservation Drainage Training (ACDT) program. This program provides intensive classroom and hands-on training for drainage designers, contractors, farmers, farmer advisers, retailers, and conservation practitioners to better understand the implementation and functioning of edge of field practices. Topics covered include not only technical details on planning, designing and construction, but also an introduction on why the practices are needed, the science behind why they work, the programs available for helping farmers implement them, and training on messaging, communication, and outreach to farmers on the benefits of a whole system approach to drainage. Trainees attended three, two-day sessions, over a six-month period. In conjunction with this training, ILICA completed the installation of a 2,000' saturated buffer at the Illinois State University in Lexington, IL. Under the lead of ILICA member David Kennedy, Kennedy Farm Drainage, the majority of the practice installation occurred the day before an open-to-the-public field day on June 15, leaving as many aspects of the practice exposed as possible for viewing. During the 3.5 hour field day, approximately 60 attendees witnessed first-hand what goes into constructing this new conservation practice, what it does, how it works, and why it's important here in IL. Conservation partners presented on additional topics such as soil health, farm conservation, water quality, and wildlife habitat during the event, where Dr. Jim Angel discussed changing weather patterns and climatology over lunch.
Without the concerted effort and expertise of our volunteer members, associates, and partners involved, this critical type of industry and public education, which is so crucial to helping Illinois attain its nutrient loss reduction goals, would not be possible. THANK YOU to all those involved with this great project!