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Historic Precedents to Collaborative Conservation in Working Landscapes

Historic Precedents to Collaborative Conservation in Working Landscapes

The Ccoon Valley “Cooperative Conservation” Initiative, 1934

Chapter:
(p.77) Spotlight 4.1 Historic Precedents to Collaborative Conservation in Working Landscapes
Source:
Stitching the West Back Together
Author(s):
Curt MeineGary P. Nabhan
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226165851.003.0005

One of the earliest formal efforts of collaborative conservation—called cooperative conservation at the time—began in the 1930s in Coon Valley, Wisconsin. There, Aldo Leopold became an adviser to the first watershed-scale soil conservation demonstration area designated by the U.S. Soil Erosion Service (now USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service). As many as 418 private farming families worked with researchers from the University of Wisconsin, the Soil Erosion Service, and other agencies to restore soils, watercourses, forest cover, wildlife habitat and recreational values to 40,000 acres of land that had become highly degraded by poor farming practices. Local bankers helped finance new projects. The cooperative effort continues today and attracts attention from scientists and land steward advocates. The region has become a hub for sustainably produced and organic products, including the highly successful business, Organic Valley. In addition, it now supports a thriving fishery and flourishing recreational fishing economy.

Keywords:   Coon Valley, Wisconsin, Aldo Leopold, Collaborative conservation, U.S. Soil Erosion Service, Organic Valley

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