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Conservation Showcase - Gasconade County Streambank

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NRCS Initiative Helps Stabilize Gasconade County Streambank

Stanley Shoemaker Stanley Shoemaker watched the Bourbeuse River cut about 50 feet into the lower field of his Gasconade County farm during the 20 years that he has owned the farm. The streambank erosion bothered him, but he didn't know how to affordably stop it.

Then a couple years ago he read an article in his local newspaper about a program administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that offered some promise. The Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) is available to assist landowners with natural resource problems if their property is located within an approved project area with a local sponsor.

Fortunately for Shoemaker, the Gasconade County Soil and Water Conservation District's proposal for a CCPI project was one of three approved in Missouri in 2010. The project's focus is on stabilizing streambank erosion issues within the Bourbeuse Watershed in Gasconade County.

"I (saw) that in the newspaper, and I signed up immediately," Shoemaker says. "I've complained for years to various groups that there is money to assist with problems on little streams, but nothing for the big rivers. You can't afford to work on the Bourbeuse River by yourself."

Diana Mayfield, Gasconade County SWCD manager, says the CCPI has $200,000 available over five years to address streambank erosion issues in Gasconade County. She says the Shoemaker project utilized $40,000 from CCPI. The SWCD provided another $5,000, and Shoemaker provided the remaining $16,000 of the $61,000 project, primarily by quarrying rock from his land and hauling the rock to the river. That satisfied the federal requirement for   landowners to provide 25 percent of the funding through cash or in-kind services.

Mark Brandt, NRCS resource conservationist, says the project stabilized a 400-foot curve in the river by creating four weirs, installing geotextile fabric and covering it with the rock that Shoemaker provided. In addition, Shoemaker has planted trees along the river that should grow into a riparian corridor that will aid in stabilizing the soil along the river.

"The river was trying to cut through his bottom field," Brandt says. "He was proactive in trying trees first. We think these solutions will take care of the problem along this stretch of the river."

Melinda Barch, NRCS district conservationist in Gasconade County, says the project was begun in August 2011 and completed a month later.

"I'm glad that we had a program to help," Barch says. "There wouldn't have been a way to do this without CCPI. The $5,000 from the district wouldn't have gone very far."

Shoemaker says he is thankful that NRCS and the Gasconade County SWCD were able to partner to help him solve a longstanding problem.

"This is something that I have been wanting for a long time," he says.    

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