Given that the Macoupin River Basin is a high priority for phosphorus reductions, AFT and our local partners decided to tackle the water quality challenges in the upper reaches of the basin, the Upper Macoupin Creek Watershed.
The Upper Macoupin Creek (UMC) watershed is a subwatershed of the Macoupin Creek Basin located in Macoupin County, Illinois. The UMC project area covers 137,694-acres, about half of the Macoupin Creek Basin. AFT leads this initiative with over 15 federal, state, and local government partners, agricultural trade associations, environmental groups, agricultural retailers, and a local university working to reduce phosphorus losses, improve farm productivity, provide education and outreach, and improve water quality in the creek.
The UMC partnership includes a 17-member steering committee comprised of eight farmers, two representatives of M&M Service Company, two representatives from CHS Shipman, two representatives from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Macoupin County, one representative from the Macoupin County Soil and Water Conservation District, one representative from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and one representative from AFT.
To date, the Upper Macoupin Creek Watershed has accomplished:
- 54 Farm Contracts (CSP, EQIP, MRBI)
- 79 Self-Assessments for Current Conservation Practices (STAR forms in Champaign County, IL)
- 1.7M in funding towards conservation practices, soil health, & water quality
Upper Macoupin Creek Watershed Project Goals
The Steering Committee has adopted seven specific goals that aim to achieve social, economic, and environmental outcomes by 2022:
Improve awareness and understanding of the water quality issues in the UMC, the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, and the benefits of improved soil health and nutrient management
Increase conservation activity in the watershed by 40 percent
Improve farmer profitability
Reduce ephemeral gully erosion by 50 percent
No application of commercial fertilizer or manure on snow-covered or frozen ground
All livestock manure will be effectively stored with no potential runoff
Achieve a 25 percent reduction in total Phosphorus loads and a 15 percent reduction in Nitrate-N loads