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A smart, hardworking wetland


HENRY - You can visit one of the newest Smart Wetlands in Marshall County this Thursday, June 29.


The wetland is loaded with vegetation and primed to remove nitrates and phosphorus from ag-drainage tile water. The surrounding prairie is in bloom, with multiple species thriving despite the dry conditions. The public is welcome to attend two sessions.

The first is from 11 am – 2 pm for farmers, farmland owners, and agribusiness professionals wanting to reduce nutrient loss from cropland. Participants will be able to tour the wetland and the surrounding prairie and learn why this conservation practice is essential to improving water quality in Illinois. A free ribeye sandwich lunch will be served at noon, with presentations on various sustainable agriculture practices.

Those speaking include: Jim Isermann, Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership, and Dr. Jill Kostel, The Wetlands Initiative (TWI), talking about various resources available for farmers wanting to reduce nutrient loss from their farms; Kyle Maple, U.S. Agriculture, sharing the increasing demand by ag investors for the use of sustainable ag practices; and Dylan Cook, American Farmland Trust, will provide an update on the progress to get a new Farm Bill passed this year.

Later from 4–7 pm, the public, conservation professionals, and hunters are encouraged to attend. This session will focus on how native marsh vegetation in and around a Smart Wetland can provide habitat for wildlife, waterfowl, pollinators, and recreational opportunities for landowners on their property. Staff from Marshall-Putnam Soil and Water Conservation District (M-P SWCD), TWI, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others, will be on hand to answer questions. Snacks and drinks will be served.

Smart Wetlands are precisely located and custom-designed constructed wetlands to fit within today’s farming operation to remove nutrients. This wetland was constructed in September 2021 and is now fully operational. M.K. Farm Drainage Specialists built the 1.83-acre wetland at McCuskey Farms under the direction of the M-P SWCD and TWI through their Smart Wetlands program. Martin McCuskey owns the land, and Rex Newton farms it.

The Smart Wetland installation site is located west of Henry, IL, near the intersection of Marshall County Road 500 East and County Road 1400 North, along the Scholes Branch Creek. Additional information about the field day will be available at: https://www.smartwetlands.farm/smartwetland5.

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