Purpose of the project: Agricultural landowners in Peno Creek Priority Watershed (Salt River Basin) are voluntarily installing best management practices to meet NFHP/FFP goals through water quality improvement and habitat protection. Best management practices will reduce erosion, sedimentation, and nutrient loading. Some of these actions include installing alternative drinking sources and stream crossings, fencing cattle out of the stream, reforestation of the riparian corridor, streambank stabilization or other aquatic habitat restoration, and establishment of cover crops to improve soil health. Stakeholders will continue to be consulted to guide long-term community watershed efforts with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Practices are installed by landowners and contractors under MDC guidance and are guaranteed in place for at least 10 years.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: In 2007, Peno Creek watershed, one of the highest-quality streams in northeast Missouri, was designated an Aquatic Conservation Opportunity Area. Intensive sampling in 2009 and a watershed characterization in 2011 revealed a robust aquatic community and quality habitat. The watershed was designated a MDC Priority Watershed in 2011. In 2015, Peno Creek was added to the NRCS Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) list. Peno Creek watershed also provides critical habitat in caves due to the karst topography. Some of these caves contain Gray bats (Myotis grisescens), Indiana bats (Myotis sodalist), Northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis), and other fauna.
Peno Creek has been a popular destination for anglers looking for a quality stream-fishing experience for years. It is one of a few streams in northern Missouri that supports smallmouth bass and rock bass populations. Combined with clear water and quality habitat, this stream system provides a unique experience for northern Missouri anglers. Public fishing access is provided at Ranacker Conservation Area (1,831 acres) and numerous road crossings.
In March 2013, MDC engaged NRCS and the Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District and hosted an informational meeting with a select group of watershed landowners. Since then they have engaged even more stakeholders by forming a landowner advisory council (Peno Creek Cooperative Partnership) to help guide and promote watershed conservation efforts. In 2014, 13 producer families enrolled in the cover crop cost-share program and 466 acres were planted. Now more watershed landowners are interested in using cover crops, and are interested in how to incorporate them into their operations. Providing technical and cost-share assistance will help landowners utilize this unique practice to conserve aquatic resources, while improving their bottom line. Implementing this project will complement long-term efforts to maintain and protect this high-quality system.
The goal of MDC, NRCS, Pike County SWCD, Fishers & Farmers Partnership and landowners in the watershed is to improve stream habitat for aquatic communities while adding value for agricultural producers. Since the watershed is a priority for Fishers & Farmers, more funding is anticipated next year.
Project Timeline: To date, several projects in the Peno Creek Watershed have been completed. A large pasture improvement project involving cross fencing for rotational grazing, exclusion fencing, and alternative water sources was completed in 2014. A reinforced stream crossing was installed on Peno Creek and an exclusion fencing and alternative water project was completed in 2015. The cover crop cost-share program has helped producers learn how to incorporate this practice into their operation on 1,125 acres since 2014. In 2016, 26 landowners will plant 1,277 acres of cover crops within the watershed. Helping producers incorporate cover crops into their operation may be the most significant lasting impact of this project. Each project will be completed in less than 2 years, but multiple projects will be funded over a 10-year period. Fishers & Farmers plans to fund Peno Creek every 2-4 years or so. Peno Creek was first funded in 2014 and will be proposed again for FY2017.
Economic Calculator results:
Total Sales: $41,804.85
Value Added: $21,911.70,
Income: $17,429.30. http://gentnergroup.com/NFHAP/
Partners: Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District, Peno Creek Landowner Advisor Council/Farmer-led Committee, Peno Creek Watershed Farmers/Landowners, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.