|Service biologist Heidi Keuler is coordinator of the Fishers & Farmers Partnership for the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Photo Credit: Minnesota DNR
The Fishers & Farmers Partnership for the Upper Mississippi River Basin (FFP) is a self-directed group of interested, non-governmental agricultural and conservation organizations, tribal organizations, and state and federal agencies working "to support locally led projects that add value to farms while restoring aquatic habitat and native fish populations." The Fishers & Farmers Partnership is organized and recognized under the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) and brings science and technical expertise to locally directed projects throughout the Upper Mississippi River Basin including Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Service staff help guide the work of the partnership, which fosters collaborative conservation projects between farming landowners and natural resource managers. Using innovative strategies for land use and stream restoration, the partnership has designed practices to benefit farms and aquatic habitats.
For instance, to improve water quality, Dave Dunn and his wife, Charlotte, installed grass buffer strips along creeks on their land in Missouri, put up fences and installed alternate watering systems for cattle. The project cost them some production land, but managing cattle was easier with the fencing, water quality improved after just a year, and the clearer water has meant cattle with fewer waterborne diseases.
The following letter was presented to La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office biologist Heidi Keuler, in recognition of her fantastic work as Fishers & Farmers coordinator: