Conservation Update
April 9 - April 22, 2015 
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Funding Opportunities

IDEM Section 319 Grants for 2016

The solicitation for FFY 2016 Section 319 grant applications begins April 20, 2015.  Notice of Intent (NOI) emails are due June 1, 2015.  The NOI is a formal notification of the intent to prepare an application and includes a brief description of the project.  

Applications for FFY 2016 Section 319 grants are due September 1, 2015. Your electronic application submittal must be received by IDEM by the close of business on September 1, 2015, and your mailed copy must be postmarked no later than September 1, 2015.  

Please review the IDEM: Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant Application Solicitation webpage for more information. The Solicitation Announcement contains important information including project eligibility, funding priorities, and application requirements.  Please note that Section 319 applications will only be reviewed from applicants who submitted an approved NOI. 

Conservation Partners Program

The Conservation Partners Program (CPP) will be awarding $2.45 million in NRCS funds, leveraged by up to an additional $3.7 million in NFWF funding to eight geographic areas. Typical grant awards will range from $50,000-$200,000 and require a 1:1 match of non-federal funds or in-kind contributions.


Four of the Geographic Priority Areas are: Freshwater Systems in California, Grassland Birds, Great Lakes and the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations and local units of governments, including conservation districts.

The deadline for pre-proposals is May 12. For more information on the CPP and the specific priority areas, please visit the NFWF website

Partner News

NACD Announces New CEO


The National Association of Conservation Districts recently announced that former Chief Operations Officer (COO) Jeremy Peters has been named as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to manage the association and lead advocacy efforts on behalf of the nation's 3,000 conservation districts.


"NACD is extremely fortunate to have an 'in-house' candidate that understands the needs of our association," said NACD President Lee McDaniel. "Jeremy is a humble and sincere young man who knows our staff, our partners and many of our members, and understands the issues facing conservation districts today. His strong work ethic, passion for our mission, and ability to follow through on our various projects will serve NACD well in our future endeavors. We are pleased to welcome Jeremy as our new CEO."


Jeremy Peters, NACD CEO. Photo: NACD

Peters rejoined NACD as COO in October 2014. Prior to that time, he worked for American Farmland Trust (AFT) where he led AFT's efforts on Capitol Hill as the Director of Federal Policy.


"I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve NACD and the nation's conservation districts as CEO," said Peters. "With a rapidly growing world population, this is an important time for natural resource conservation. I look forward to working with NACD's officers, elected leaders and staff, and our national partners, to promote and advance voluntary, incentive-based conservation solutions."


Celebrate Earth Day by Saving Our Soil 

By Jane Hardisty, USDA-NRCS State Conservationist

Eighty years ago, in April 1935, an ominous wall of blowing sand and dust swept across the Great Plains caused by years of overplanting, poorly managed crops and severe drought conditions. During these massive storms, people were forced to crawl on hands and knees in search of shelter, literally unable to see their hands in front of their faces. Cars stalled and stopped in the choking dust. Many thought the end of the world had come. 

In response to the Dust Bowl, Congress passed Public Law 74-46 on April 27, 1935, and recognized that "the wastage of soil and moisture resources on farm, grazing, and forest lands... is a menace to the national welfare." The law established an agency, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) to work directly with private landowners to protect and improve soil and other resources.

Earth Day is a great time for all of us to look back at how far we have come since that catastrophic event and take note of what we need to do next in our efforts to protect and manage this precious and nonrenewable resource-our soil.

Today we are still facing huge challenges with a changing physical environment. Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose at a record-shattering pace last year. Severe droughts and flooding are becoming the norm. Our agricultural land base is shrinking. It's estimated that in the next 40 years, producers will need to produce as much food as they have in the last 500 to feed the growing population. Around the world, farmers and whole communities will need to adapt to impacts from climate change, extreme weather events, and increasing population.

But there is good news. NRCS has the perfect solution to help people address many of these problems by helping them to manage the health of their soil.

You may be wondering how a little dirt can change the world. The fact is, healthy soils are a critical piece of mitigating impacts from weather extremes. They have a great water and nutrient holding capacity. In drought this can help ensure food, fuel and fiber production continues. In heavy rainfall, healthy soils can help avert flooding communities downstream and ensure soil and nutrients stay on the land and don't end up in our rivers and streams. Most importantly, we are reliant on the health and vitality of our soils to grow nutritious food to feed our ever growing population. By helping farmers understand the importance of soil health we ensure farming operations continue and even thrive within this changing world.

This year we are celebrating the International Year of Soils. I can't think of a better way to honor this living and nonrenewable resource than increasing the understanding of the importance soil plays in food security and essential ecosystem functions.
Earth Day is a perfect time to say a big thank you to the Indiana's farmers, backyard gardeners and all of our conservationists who are doing their part to protect the soil to feed and clothe generations to come. 

District Spotlight

Newton County Plat Books

The Newton County SWCD has partnered with Rockford Map Publishers (RMP), a private map company, to create a new 2015 Newton County Plat Book. For Newton County, this will be something completely different from what has been done in the past. "What's most exciting are the new features in this plat book, like full-color maps and facing-page aerials. Besides books, RMP was able to provide helpful marketing support and additional map products for our office. We are eager to get these maps into the hands of local landowners!" says Rose Morgan, Executive Director/Educator of the Newton County SWCD.


The goal of this plat book partnership is to provide an exceptional resource to the community that ultimately raises the SWCD's local presence. According to Rose, the new plat book will help the SWCD connect face-to-face with local landowners so they can continue to assist in implementing good conservation practices that will improve the environment and quality of life for all.


Besides Newton, RMP is currently working with the Cass, DeKalb, Hancock, Marshall, Rush and Shelby SWCDs to help introduce similar projects later this year. If your SWCD is interested, you can contact Rose or RMP directly to learn more about introducing a similar project in your county.

Contact Us


Find your Region Director

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These are just a few of the upcoming events around the state. You can find many more on the Conservation Calendar and the Soil Health Events Calendar.

Support IASWCD

Do you frequently make purchases on You can help support conservation in Indiana by selected IASWCD as a recipient of AmazonSmile contributions when you shop on Amazon will donate a portion of their profits to IASWCD at no additional cost to you. It's a simple way to support conservation in your day to day life!
Social Media Toolkit 

NACD's National Stewardship Week is April 26-May 3, and this year the theme is "Your Hardworking Pollinators." 

Tweet and Facebook along with us to amplify the message about the importance of pollinators in conservation. Feel free to use the tweets and posts below, or create your own with the resources from the NACD Stewarship Week webpage.


7 simple ways to help our hardworking pollinators!


#Bees are important for #food + #conservation: #pollinators

This Ted talk by @louiefilms highlights the importance of #pollinators:


Legislative Update

Have you been keeping up with conservation legislation during the state legislative session? Read up in the latest IASWCD Bill Tracker.

Job Openings

Please email job descriptions, instructions for applying, and a deadline in a single PDF file to [email protected] to be included.