Fishers and Farmers is one of the 19 US Fish and Wildlife Service projects; it works with landowners, NGOs and governments to link landowners, farmers and water users to effectively protect and improve water quality. Use the second markers below to find specific elements of Heidi's talk
8:00 Fishers and Farmers' steering committee goes out and meets with farmers in the project; they organized river boat trips to see the river together. They approach conservation conversations from an agronomic viewpoint.
13:02 – Soil Health is the key. We must get to the root of the problem; building fish habitat is good but if you don’t fix the thing that’s causing fish habitat to be lost the fixes you installed will just wash away. Soil health is essential to keeping soil on the land and clean water in our rivers, streams, lakes and groundwater. Healthy soil increases water-retention capacity.
16:29 – about 15 years ago, LWV Ashland worked with USFW to improve stream water quality in the Bad River Watershed. This was a very successful project and Heidi would love to see this replicated. She also had current examples, including the work that LWV Jo Davies is doing in the Apple Plum watershed. http://watershed.fishersandfarmers.org/apple-plum-watershed/ They have different types of projects in different areas, like oxbow restoration in Iowa and ravine stabilization in Minnesota. Research is being conducted into the efficacy of incorporating strips of prairie land into rowcrops.
27:55 Lessons learned – early adopters suffer from fatigue from implementing change when neighbors don’t. They feel isolated. Peers are among the most powerful influencers of social change. So F&F is working to build trust and build connections in a watershed. They ask conservation staff to arrive as human beings, not as regulators or experts. Landowners and farmers are asked to help solve problems, and their solutions are applied. The goal is to co-create and implement local solutions, to communicate shared vision and hear success. It is also important to support local project managers. The right hand photo below shows the highest leverage points for effecting positive change in a watershed, developed in a Fishers and Farmers workshop.