The McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District

The McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District proudly preserves McLean County’s most valuable resources. Our desire to protect soil and water, and serve area producers is 78 years strong. The experienced staff and strong dedication to conservation gives landowners professional options and solutions to protect their investment. The past and present District Board of Directors has given this county the strong leadership and correct direction to maintain the rich agricultural integrity of McLean County.

McLean County is the largest and one of the richer agricultural counties in the state of Illinois. It owes this distinction to the heritage of a fertile soil- a soil developed over centuries from the accumulation and deterioration of plant and animal life.

McLean County Soil and Water Conservation DistrictTall dense growth of bluestem and other grasses carpeted the prairie. Lakes and swamps dotted the landscape. Heavy growths of trees and underbrush covered many of the slopes, fish, birds, and wild animals abounded. But alas, man came and appropriated these resources to his own benefit. He cut the forest, he killed the wildlife-he plowed the prairies- he exploited the fertility of the soil. He destroyed organic matter-he muddied the waters. Erosion by wind and water followed his erring course.

In order to focus attention on these devastating processes and to halt these ruthless in roads on this sacred heritage and to restore the some degree the vital assets of plant food elements, the McLean County Soil Conservation District was organized in the spring of 1942. The nine southeast townships in the county, being those in the upper Sangamon river valley, comprised the original district. It was enlarged to include the entire county in the spring of 1944 and water was later added to the name. It is composed of and controlled by landowners who have elected their own Board of Directors working in conjunction with local and state agencies.  Through the facilities made possible by the organization, technical assistance with problems of building and maintaining soil fertility and controlling erosion is now available to all landowners and operators in the county.

2023 Conservationist of the Year

Our 2023 recipient of the McLean County Conservationist of the year award goes to Mikel Fonger of Bloomington. He is a 3rd generation farmer for 53 years near McLean, that was privileged to farm his family’s land for 50 years. Mikel is a devoted conservationist. He served on the McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District board for 28 years. He didn’t just promote conservation, he lived it on his daily operation.

 A no-till farmer for 32 years, strip-till for 25 years and an early adopter of cover crops for more than a decade, he understands the importance of protecting his family legacy through conservation implementation. Mikel gave his time and talent to so many other local community boards. He was on the Funks Grove Township for 20 years, McLean County Christian Church board for 40 years and the Mt Hope- Funks Grove Water Authority for 10 years.  He and his wife Sherrita have 3 children, 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Thank you Mikel Fonger for your example to McLean County of service and leadership! The McLean County Board and Staff are honored to induct you into this special recognition of our counties greatest Conservationists.


The Watersheds of McLean County

Every person on this planet lives in a watershed.  A watershed is the area that drains water to the same place.  During every rainfall, the surface water flows into a stream, river, or lake.  Some of that water ends up in your glass after it travels through the water cycle!

Sponsors Donate $150 to be displayed here, our e-newsletter, and bi-annual mailed newsletter.

Contact our office to become a sponsor in 2024!

These sponsors are advertisers in our SWCD publications and not an endorsement of the company or services provided. We are an equal opportunity farm advertiser.

2023 Plat Books Available!

Contact the office for purchase:
$35 Cash or Check, $40 Credit Card

Upcoming Events


Trees & Fish

Fall Fish and Tree Sales available later this fall

Our Policy

The McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status or disability. This policy covers all programs, services and procedures of the District, including employment. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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