Grant Opportunities through the Illinois Department of Agriculture Conservation Practices Program

Streambank Stabilization and Restoration Cost-Share Program

Streambank erosion is a natural process that occurs in all streams as water wears away the soil and rock that form their banks.  As the banks are worn away, streams naturally and slowly establish a meandering course.  Streambank erosion in Illinois has, however, been accelerated by land altering activities, such as stream channelization and straightening, removal of streamside vegetation, construction of impervious surfaces and other activities which increase drainage water flow and water velocity.


Streambank erosion has become a serious threat to the land, water, plant and animal resources along many streams in Illinois.  Streambank erosion, when left unchecked, can be responsible for the loss or damage to valuable farmland, wildlife habitat, buildings, roads, bridges and other public and private structures and property.  Streambank erosion is also a major source of sediments deposited in Illinois lakes, streams and backwater areas, and may contribute to as much as 30-50% of the downstream sediment load.  Sediment reduces stream channel capacity, which may increase flooding and streambank erosion, or reduce the depth and holding capacity of lakes and reservoirs.  Excessive sedimentation also degrades water quality and destroys fish and wildlife habitat. 


To address these needs, the Streambank Stabilization and Restoration Practice (SSRP) has been established.  The SSRP will provide demonstration and cost-share projects that will target cost-share monies to severely eroding streambank sites where effective low-cost streambank stabilization techniques can be established.


The primary goals of the SSRP are to develop and demonstrate vegetative, stone structure and other low‑cost bio‑engineering techniques for stabilizing streambanks and to encourage the adoption of low‑cost streambank stabilization projects by making available financial incentives, technical assistance and educational information to landusers with critically eroding streambanks.


All landusers and project sites (rural and urban) in each Illinois county are eligible for a SSRP demonstration project, watershed project and/or cost‑share assistance provided that the project site meets the assessment and selection criteria established for successful streambank stabilization using approved low-cost, vegetative, stone structure and/or other bio‑engineering techniques.


All project proposals must be sponsored and prepared with the approval of the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Board and with the technical assistance of qualified staff from the SWCD, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and/or the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Currently we are working on projects in the Fox River Watershed in Antioch, Bull Creek Watershed in Libertyville, and Buffalo Creek Watershed in Lake Zurich.


Conservation Practices Program (CPP) - Special Projects

A Special Project Fund has been created to be used for Districts with program requests that tend to be unique to a limited area or region of the state that would either provide for piloting new practices not on the state-wide docket or target specific practices or initiatives that are local priorities.  Examples of potential pilot projects include, but are not limited to: stream crossings, shelterbelts, windbreaks, ecologically sensitive area protection karst, urban gully restoration, retention pond buffers, rain gardens for storm water control, shoreline protection/restoration/stabilization, and heavy livestock use area protection.  Examples of local priority initiatives include, but are not limited to: targeting a watershed or community with a well sealing program that would exceed the state-wide docket limit of 10 wells per district per year.


This Special Project Fund will allow the Department of Agriculture and Districts to address these needs without making a long list of practices that may only be used by a few Districts.  Urbanizing Districts have emerging issues they deal with on a regular basis that are not addressed by the existing regular program which addresses rural soil erosion needs.


Any SWCD may apply for a project up to $10,000 of cost-share.  A project may include one or more practices with more than one landowner and may involve more than one District for projects that extend into an adjoining District.  Because of the nature of the projects to be funded, if no available average cost list exists to go by, the cost-share rate will be 60% of the actual cost of installation for the practices.  There must be 3 estimates obtained from area contractors, with the lowest bidder receiving the contract for construction of the project.


Please contact Mea Blauer, Resource Conservationist at or at 847-223-1056 if you are interested in pursuing the SSRP or the Special Project CPP programs.


*Rain Garden Picture Credit: Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District.