Cass Agencies Hope for Pilot Conservation Project

Beardstown, IL – Several Cass County groups are joining to try out a different approach to soil conservation.

Economic Developer Steve Twaddle says most conservation projects are built in the lowlands to keep soil from going into rivers.

He says the new approach will be to use dry dams and other structures in the upland areas of the county.

He says that will keep the soil in place and keep it from running downhill to the lowlands.

Agencies cooperating in the attempt to get the $500,000 pilot project funded include the soil conservation service and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

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The Nature Conservancy is joining the project to use its equipment to monitor the amount of soil and agricultural chemicals that are lost to erosion.

Twaddle says much of the erosion that causes the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico comes from Midwestern states.

He says if the pilot project works out, those states could keep more of their soil on the land, and have less chemical runoff.

In addition, a positive outlook would encourage other upland areas to install conservation projects.