Crawford County landowner Mike Bottom and his wife, daughter and son-in-law, run a cow-calf operation in the Lower Bourbeuse Conservation Opportunity Area. The COA’s manager, Kenda Flores, applauds the Bottoms’ work, which is supported in part by Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation funds. “Mike’s combination of livestock and wildlife practices is unparalleled,” Kenda says. “He’s done a great job with wildlife borders, and he and his family have established an extensive corridor of trees along Brush Creek.”
Mike is equally pleased with the program. “I’ve been involved in conservation for years, but the current work the Department is doing on streams has just been amazing.”
Mike urges other Brush Creek-area landowners to get involved. “Contrary to popular myth, you don’t have to give up your private property rights if you participate in conservation cost-share programs — and the benefits are significant.”
Call your regional office to find out more.
Letting cattle continually graze stream banks seems like an easy way to water them, but over time, stream-bank grazing can threaten animal health and degrade water quality and wildlife habitat. Streamside fencing keeps cattle off banks, and prevents them from becoming mired in mud or drowning. Get cost-share for alternative watering and fencing through federal programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. Call your local USDA service center for more information.
Buffering streams with grasses, shrubs and trees helps banks stay solid during flooding. Stream buffers also keep water cleaner and cooler, and they improve wildlife habitat. Several practices within the farm bill’s Conservation Reserve Program help landowners bear the cost of buffering streams. Conservation practices 21, 22, 29 and 30, for example, all provide a sign-up incentive of $100 per acre as well as additional cost-share incentives for stream buffer practices. In addition, conservation practice 31, also known as “bottomland timber,” provides incentives for enrolling entire creek bottoms into the program. All Conservation Reserve Program stream buffer contracts run from 10–15 years. Call your local USDA service center to see if your land qualifies for Conservation Reserve Program stream buffer practices.
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