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Fishers and Farmers Assessment Report Completed
Midwest Region, August 31, 2009
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Agricultural landscapes and lotic drainages are focal points for anticipated Fishers and Farmers Partnership Program actions to conserve fish and aquatic communities in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
Agricultural landscapes and lotic drainages are focal points for anticipated Fishers and Farmers Partnership Program actions to conserve fish and aquatic communities in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. - Photo Credit: n/a

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) is an initiative to protect, restore, and enhance the nation’s fish and aquatic communities through cooperative, locally-driven, private and public partnership efforts that foster fish habitat conservation and improve the quality of life for the American people.  The Fishers and Farmers Partnership for the Upper Mississippi River Basin is one of eleven regional candidate programs under consideration for full-partnership status in the NFHAP.  The geographic focus of this partnership is on lotic drainages and agricultural landscapes in the Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB) that were glaciated during the last continental ice age.  This 490,000-km2 landscape, containing much of America’s most productive agricultural land, is drained by more than 49,000 km of streams.  It includes large portions of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin, small portions of Indiana, Michigan, and South Dakota, and covers all or parts of 357 counties.

To receive formal recognition as a NFHAP partnership program and compete for annual federal funding, candidate programs like Fishers and Farmers must draft a strategic plan detailing how fish habitat conservation goals will be accomplished.  As part of the strategic planning process, program partners called for an objective assessment of the current needs and opportunities to protect, restore, and enhance fish and aquatic communities in the UMRB while simultaneously improving agricultural production through cost-effective actions that promote more efficient and sustainable land-use practices.   A 13-member team of regional conservation professionals, co-chaired by Scott Yess and Mark Steingraeber of the La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, conducted this assessment over a 9-month period using the most recent scientific data available for the UMRB.  Based largely on geographic information system analyses of these data, an initial report was completed in August and submitted to members of the Fishers and Farmers Steering Committee for consideration in preparing the Strategic Plan.  The 30-page document, titled Fishers and Farmers Partnership Program for the Upper Mississippi River Basin: Assessment Team Report, is now available on request (mark_steingraeber@fws.gov) and will soon be available on line at http://fishersandfarmers.org/documents.html.  The Fishers and Farmers Steering Committee is scheduled to submit its formal application for full partnership recognition to NFHAP representatives before the end of the year.


Contact Info: Mark Steingraeber, 608-783-8436, Mark_Steingraeber@fws.gov



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