MARION– Trees Forever is now accepting applications from Iowa farmers and landowners who are interested in improving water quality and reducing soil erosion by participating in the “Working Watersheds: Buffers and Beyond” program in 2012. Technical assistance, project planning and funding resources are available to selected landowners who are willing to demonstrate and model good conservation practices. The deadline for applications has been extended to Jan. 13, 2012.
Trees Forever’s “Working Watersheds: Buffers and Beyond” program is a statewide initiative to improve water quality in Iowa through the promotion and establishment of conservation buffers and wetlands. Demonstration sites showcasing streamside buffers, pond or wetland projects, rain gardens and agroforestry plantings will be selected to participate in the 2012 program. In addition, public sites such as fairgrounds, community colleges or local schools may be selected as permanent demonstration sites for their added educational value.
“Trees Forever and our program sponsors have made this program easy for landowners to apply and participate,” notes Barb Grabner-Kerns, Buffer Program Manager with Trees Forever. “The program emphasizes the use of best management practices. Landowners can also benefit from a seed cost-share program offered through FS/Growmark,” Grabner-Kerns added.
Property owners with land where there are impaired streams within a watershed, areas prone to erosion or environmentally sensitive areas are especially encouraged to apply. Landowners may select from a menu of conservation practices including riparian buffers, stream bank stabilization, stream channel enhancements, constructed wetlands, agroforestry plantings, organic crop buffers and/or plantings around livestock facilities.
Flexible program design and funding criteria allow landowners to choose the trees, shrubs or grass species that fit their goals for the property. A Trees Forever field coordinator will work directly with landowners to help them meet the goals of their buffer site and to help connect them with local resources and partners.
Sponsors and partners of the “Working Watersheds: Buffers and Beyond” program include Trees Forever, Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., FS/Growmark, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
To apply for Trees Forever’s “Working Watersheds: Buffers and Beyond” program in Iowa, contact Barb Grabner-Kerns at 515-576-3436 or download an application form at www.treesforever.org .