In our area, we are fortunate to have a long history of conservation and stewardship that goes back to the pioneering work of Aldo Leopold to plan agricultural land use in the ways that best protect soil. Today, the science of water quality research that is practiced and promoted by Valley Stewardship Network is used to measure the benefits of good stewardship.
At Valley Stewardship Network, we help landowners to identify and find resources for the stewardship practices that have proven to be successful in our area:
Perennial Grass-based Agriculture
Perennial crops, including permanent pastures, rotational grazing and other grass-based systems, prevent erosion, sequester carbon, build soil organic matter and increase farm profitability.
Wildlife Habitat Restoration
Restoring or renewing degraded or damaged ecosystems provides habitat for fish, mammals, birds and insects.
Cover crops planted within annual cropping systems help decrease soil erosion, increase soil fertility and add biodiversity.
Riparian Buffers and Prairie Restoration
Buffers planted along rivers and streams help prevent soil erosion and fertilizer runoff into waterways while increasing wildlife habitat. Prairie strips can be especially helpful to stabilize streambanks and provide pollinator habitat.
Invasive Species Management
Monitoring and controlling non-native invasive species protects terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and their habitat and economic values.
Streambank restoration improves the environmental health of a river or stream by restoring the natural functioning of the river system for fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, and flood management.
Sustainable forest management is a system where all forest resources are replaced, ensuring a perpetually renewing ecosystem for forest health, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat and forest products.
Surface and Groundwater Protection
Best land use practices on farms and recreational lands prevent sediment, fertilizer and chemical run-off and contamination of surface water, groundwater, springs and drinking water wells.