Upper Macoupin Creek Watershed

Target Regions

Conservation activities on farms are most effective when coordinated within a specific community or watershed.

Located in Macoupin County, the rolling terrain of the 137,694 acre Upper Macoupin Watershed has a mix of row crops and livestock agriculture. UMC is located with the larger Macoupin Creek watershed, one of the three highest phosphorus yielding major watersheds in Illinois. The local planning committee identified reducing phosphorus and sediment losses as the primary objective of the project. In 2016, the UMC Watershed Partnership was awarded $1 Million through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s “Regional Conservation Partnership Program” or RCPP. Funding from RCPP is for financial and technical assistance to farmers to implement conservation practices. A group of 14 partners, led by AFT, is contributing $1.2 Million to the project for education and outreach, technical assistance, field trials and water quality monitoring.

​"When it comes to cover crops- seeding dates and species selection is very important." Kris Reynolds, AFT Midwest Natural Resource Conservationist

Agricultural Innovators Identified

In each watershed, an agricultural adviser, a farm operation and a non-operating landowner was profiled for their use of conservation cropping systems.  

Randy Williamson, Conservation Practices Stewardship Program

Randy Williamson utilized cereal rye as a cover crop before his soybeans. The cover crops helped maintain sufficient moisture in the soil while also providing additional weed management in the field. The cover crops also helped make the soil less susceptible to erosion and nutrient loss.


Click here to Watch Randy's Video on Strip Till practices.

Joe Huebener, 4 R's of Nutrient Management

Joe Huebener serves as the yield point data management specialist for CHS. Joe works with farmers in the Upper Macoupin Creek Watershed Partnership to promote the 4R's of nutrient management. Placing nutrients in the right place, at the right time, with the right rate, all while using the right product for the crop.


Click here to Watch Joe's Video on the 4 R's of Nutrient Management.

Bill Heyen, Strip Till to Reduce Nutrient Loss

The Heyen farm utilizes Environmental Tillage Systems (ETS) Soil Warrior strip till tool to place nutrients in the soil where they will be less vulnerable to loss. Strip till places the nutrients beneath the soil surface while also leaving much of the surface covered with residue to protect the soil from erosion.


Click here to Watch Bill's Video on Strip Till management.