LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas - Arkansas officials are distributing about $1.4 million appropriated to improve the Illinois River more than a decade ago to applicants who want to implement practices to clean up the river.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission is giving the funding to the Illinois River Watershed Partnership, a nonprofit in Cave Springs.

Partnership Executive Director Nicole Hardiman says the nonprofit will allocate the grants to applicants for projects such as fencing off streams from cattle, prescribed grazing and stream habitat improvements. The group aims to restore 20 miles of land along the river.

The river has been degraded for decades because of excess phosphorus often blamed on poultry farming and the use of poultry litter as fertilizer in northwestern Arkansas.