Indiana Association of  
Soil and Water Conservation Districts

News from the IASWCD

For release: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Two Organizations Honored as State District Showcase Winners

Monroe County SWCD: From the left: IASWCD President Jeff Meinders; Jordan Seger, ISDA; Larry Clemens, State Soil Conservation Board; Martha Miller, Monroe County SWCD; and Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist.

Fall Creek Watershed Partnership: From the left: 
 IASWCD President Jeff Meinders; Jordan Seger, ISDA; Larry Clemens, State Soil Conservation Board;Glenn Lange, Marion County SWCD, representing the Fall Creek Watershed Partnership; and Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist.

Indianapolis -- The Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Fall Creek Watershed Partnership are 2013 District Showcase Award recipients.

The Award highlights how local Districts are partnering with traditional and nontraditional groups, businesses, governmental agencies, local officials and volunteers to achieve their conservation goals. The presentation was made tonight at the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts'  (IASWCD) annual 
Conservation Awards Banquet.


The Monroe County SWCD showcased conservation collaborations that benefit both urban and agricultural partners. This unique mix of conservation practices occurs quietly behind the scenes of everyday life in this eclectic community.  


The District partnered with the City of Bloomington Parks and

Ferguson Dog Park

Recreation Department on Ferguson Dog Park's new rain garden and bioswales. Detemer Park's bioswale and rain gardens feature native prairie grasses and forbs installed as part of a Beanblossom Watershed 319 grant. In Ellettsville, the District partnered with the Township to stabilize stream banks along Turtle Creek at the local ballpark.


Megan Hutchinson's high tunnel is another excellent example of the District's conservation partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service "at work." The tunnel will assist her in lengthening her cropping season as she produces vegetables, perennials, preserves and honey as one of Monroe County's many specialty crop producers.


SWCD Supervisor Jeff Bailey's Monroe County farm.

Monroe County SWCD Supervisor Jeff Bailey is a young farmer, but he's already learned that no-till and cover crops make the difference. He was an early adapter of soil health systems including nutrient and pest management through NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) assistance. The adaptation paid off. Jeff has observed a dramatic decrease in his use of fertilizer and chemicals with this approach. He says "the microbiology of the soil takes care of all that for him."


The dry stack facility made possible through EQIP funds.

Monroe County's District Showcase also highlights the first equine waste management facility in the area, completed in 2012. With the development of a comprehensive nutrient management plan and installation of a dry stack facility through EQIP, waste entering Indian Creek has been significantly reduced.


From working with land users in Fortville, to the downtown neighborhoods of Indianapolis, the Fall Creek Watershed Partnership addresses water quality, soil health and natural resource concerns in a large, diverse area of four central Indiana counties. Their partners are the Marion, Hancock, Hamilton and Madison County Soil and Water Conservation Districts.


Through the assistance of a Clean Water Indiana grant, the partnership hired a watershed coordinator who conducts outreach and offers technical assistance to land owners and users. Working with neighborhood associations, multi-county watershed associations, and city and town representatives, this collaboration also has been able to offer cost-share funds.


The Partnership provides tailored "how-to" information to encourage adoption of water quality conservation practices for single family homes, neighborhood common areas, parks, corporate campuses and agricultural / urban interface areas. They provide financial assistance when possible to encourage implementation of conservation practices.


The rain garden at the Broadway United Methodist Church.

One example is how the Partnership has worked closely with the Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. There, almost 700 native plants and flowers grow in a rain garden that has helped capture, filter and recharge storm runoff from the enormous slate roof of the church. The garden also is an excellent attractor of pollinators.


The Mapleton Fall Creek Neighborhood Association, on Indianapolis' near north side, believes that people of all income levels should be able to realize their dreams of home ownership. There, the Fall Creek Watershed Partnership has helped to install practices in private homes and work with groups such as the Fall Creek Gardens Urban Growers Resource Center. Many residents have seen the benefits of conservation in their urban environment. Rain gardens, bioswales, pervious pavers, and urban gardens perform important conservation roles in yards and neighborhood parks, bringing native plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables to street corners and area parks.


Pockets of land owners and users from community to community are becoming involved in conservation practices. Demonstration projects are up and running. Interest in backyard conservation projects increases as neighbors see the beauty and practicality of these practices.


Creating a strong urban conservation program such as this one does not come without challengesMost participants have little or no exposure with urban conservation, water quality issues, or soil health, and they need information, education and technical assistance. That is why the Fall Creek Watershed Partnership's work is so critical. The Fall Creek Watershed Partnership's reach extends to the Village of Millersville in northeast Marion County, Fort Harrison State Park, and, of course, across county boundaries.


The three-day Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs concludes tomorrow at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown (350 W. Maryland, Indianapolis, 46225) with the IASWCD's Legislative Breakfast and Annual Business Meeting. The complete conference agenda is available in the conference brochure


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iaswcd logo

For more information contact:

DeeDee Sigler, Communications Manager
317-692-7374, ext. 303 

IASWCD Officers


President: Jeff Meinders


Vice President: 
Paul Cummings


Secretary: Jamie Scott 


Bobby Hettmansperger




North-NW: Jim Martin


South-NW: Mike Starkey


North-NE: Tom Crowe 


South-NE: Troy Hattery


North-SW: Les Zimmerman


South-SW: Jim Droege 


North-SE: Mike Schwab


South-SE: Brad Ponsler




Executive Director:

Jennifer Boyle Warner


Project Assistant: Liz Rice


Soil Health Program Manager: Lisa Holscher


Communications Manager: DeeDee Sigler

225 S. East St., Suite 740, Indpls, IN  46202 / 317.692.7325 / [email protected] / Facebook / Twitter