A Farmer Learning Circle: The Sugar Creek Partners, Ohio
Agriculture is the principal source of impairment in the highly degraded Sugar Creek watershed in Northeast Ohio. The Sugar Creek Partners is a farmer-led grass roots watershed group in Upper Sugar Creek that has voluntarily pursued education and taken collective responsibility to implement conservation and remediation practices in their watershed. Social research on the Partners reveals the group’s structure, scope and connection to the community and the stages by which the group took ownership of agricultural impairments and their responsibility to take action on their own farms. Beliefs and core values of their local community are critical elements in addressing water quality issues by a consensus, grass roots process.
KeywordsConservation Practice Watershed Management Core Belief Total Maximum Daily Load Riparian Corridor
The authors express their gratitude to the farmers and residents of the Sugar Creek watershed, especially the Sugar Creek Partners, the North Fork Task Force, and members of the Amish Church Districts. We also thank the Holmes and Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wayne County Auditor, and Wayne County Extension for their support and participation in this research. This research was funded by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the United States EPA.
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