NANFA-- fishes & farmers

Christopher Scharpf (
Wed, 20 Sep 2000 19:41:57 -0400

The recent (and heated) discussion on farmers and water in Kansas reminded me of
a talk given by The Nature Conservancy's Diane Rudin at last year's NANFA

First, Ms. Rudin placed the issue of fishes, farmers, and land use into the
proper social perspective:

"Most of the folks [around here in Illinois] grew up thinking of rivers and
streams as drainage ditches. . . . It's not that they wouldn't change their
ways. It's that they don't know how to do anything but grow crops . . . . And
so, given that, it is a far more complex social problem, as well as an
environmental problem, that we face in the Midwest."

Since it's impossible to purchase an entire watershed, TNC is instead working
with private landowners to help them become better stewards of the land. Under
the auspices of the Mackinaw River Partnership, the TNC is leading several
community driven projects to help stabilize badly eroding streambanks and reduce
stormwater flooding.

"It's a lot more expensive to restore habitat," Ms. Rudin said, "than it is to

Christopher Scharpf

"The secret of life is to have a task....And the most important thing is -- it
must be something you cannot possibly do!"
Henry Moore, sculptor

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