The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and the State Soil Conservation Board (SSCB) recently awarded $1,020,900 in Clean Water Indiana (CWI) Grants to 35 Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) across the state. The goals of the projects are to seek ways to protect drinking water, improve water quality and assist Hoosiers in gaining knowledge and awareness about the impacts of land use on precious water resources.
CWI Grants were awarded to the following:
“Our land and water are our state’s most precious natural resources and conserving what we have is critical to our Hoosier environment and economy,” said ISDA Director Ted McKinney. “We are committed to working with our partners to develop more conservation practices and get the necessary funding into the hands of Indiana landowners as quickly as we can.”
The CWI Grants Program provides financial assistance to SWCDs to implement conservation practices to reduce non-point sources of water pollution through education, technical assistance, training and cost-sharing programs. Statewide, this round of CWI Grant recipient projects bring together local organizations, governments and communities, as well as state and federal agencies, to showcase what Hoosier conservationists can do when given the resources to make a difference.
Proposals were concentrated on unique partnerships; regional technical assistance; centralized office coordination of state, federal and local agencies; and marketing conservation programs to landowners.
SWCDs were encouraged to work together across county lines and to leverage local, state and federal resources to put more conservation on the land and bring more funds home to Hoosier landowners. Funded projects demonstrated cooperative conservation by connecting their local business plans to the statewide Indiana Conservation Partnership (ICP) Strategic Plan.
Technical help to implement the grants will come from district staff, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Division of Soil Conservation (ISDA-DSC), the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and many local businesses and conservation groups. Additionally, the grants will help several SWCDs and local land users accelerate the implementation of federal and state conservation programs in their areas.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) was established as a separate state agency by the Legislature in 2005. The Director is appointed by the Governor and is a member of the Governor’s Cabinet. Administratively, ISDA reports to Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, who also serves as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture. Major responsibilities include advocacy for Indiana agriculture at the local, state and federal level, managing soil conservation programs, promoting economic development and agricultural innovation, serving as a regulatory ombudsman for agricultural businesses, and licensing grain firms throughout the state.