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A new collaborative effort to improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the area where Obion Creek and Bayou de Chien flow into the Mississippi River in western Kentucky is underway.
Thanks to a new partnership between The Nature Conservancy and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, landowners can receive technical and financial assistance to conserve or restore their property.
The partnership is related to NRCS’ recent announcement that it will provide $1.65 million this year to landowners to purchase voluntary conservation easements that help improve wildlife habitat and reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the Mississippi River.
NRCS is expected to provide assistance over the next four years to help willing landowners to conserve and restore additional land in the area as part of its Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are also partners in the Bayou de Chien-Obion Creek effort. Both agencies have agreed to provide additional money to landowners who implement projects in the area that enhance wildlife habitat.
The Nature Conservancy’s work in the Bayou de Chien-Obion Creek area is supported through a financial commitment from Ingram Barge Company.
“Thanks to the NRCS, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ingram Barge Company, we have an excellent opportunity to deliver even cleaner water to the Mississippi River and improve wildlife habitat in a key area,” said Terry Cook, director of The Nature Conservancy in Kentucky.
The goal of all the work is to conserve and restore a total of 5,500 acres in Fulton, Hickman and Carlisle and Graves counties that help protect Obion Creek and Bayou de Chien.
Wildlife expected to benefit from the effort include the deer, river otter and the Indiana bat. Birds that would benefit include waterfowl such as mallards, black ducks, shovelers, wood ducks and blue-winged teal, shorebirds like the least tern, and neotropical migratory songbirds including the Kentucky warbler and the prothonotary warbler.
Game fish such as largemouth bass, catfish, blue gill and crappie are also expected to benefit due to improved water quality.
“The Mississippi River is both a national treasure and a national icon,” said Michael Reuter, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership. “The NRCS’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Initiative is innovative in that it leverages existing conservation programs and grants to focus on specific areas, providing clean water and wildlife habitat in collaboration with farmers and landowners.”
NRCS funding for the work in the Bayou de Chien-Obion Creek area comes from its Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) and Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP). CCPI funding is administered through the Conservation Stewardship Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Wildlife Habitat Program. WREP is a component of the Wetlands Reserve Program.
Ingram Barge Company is the leading carrier on America's inland waterways. Ingram operates a fleet of more than 100 line haul towboats and nearly 4,000 barges to transport coal, aggregates, grain, fertilizer, ores, alloys, steel products and chemicals. Ingram Materials operates a sand and gravel dredging and distribution enterprise serving Tennessee markets. Custom Fuel Services operates 11 floating fueling stations on the Mississippi and Ohio River Systems and provides marine fuels, lubricants, and other miscellaneous services to towboats, barges, stevedoring rigs, and ships. In addition, Ingram owns a ship anchorage in Louisiana, and several bulk commodities terminals in Florida, West Virginia and Tennessee. For more information, visit the website www.ingrambarge.com.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Director of Conservation Programs
The Nature Conservancy
642 West Main Street
Lexington, KY 40508
Natural Resources Conservation Service