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Conservation INsight
March 31, 2021
IASWCD hosting April Lunch 'n Learns for Indiana Districts
Register now for two of four April Lunch 'n Learns at 12 noon each Wednesday.
Join live via Zoom or view the recordings later.
LAST CALL! for Abstracts for the 2022 Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs
Due April 5
The Annual Conference of Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts offers a unique learning and training opportunity for SWCD Supervisors, Staff, and Conservation Partners (such as state and federal agency staff). We again anticipate over 350 attendees representing local/state/ regional/national organizations, public agencies, businesses and more. Oral presentations are invited to be considered on topics relating to three session tracks: On the Ground (conservation implementation/technical), District Management, and Outreach & Education.
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River Friendly Farmer Award Nominations Now Open!
Since 1999, key conservation and agricultural organizations have sponsored the River Friendly Farmer (RFF) Awards Program. Annually, each Indiana county Soil and Water Conservation District may nominate up to two farmers who do an outstanding job of protecting their rivers, lakes and streams through their every day conservation management practices on the farm. Watershed organizations also may nominate farmers for the award by submitting an application to a county SWCD. (Due June 10)
CCSI Soil Health News & Events
NACD'S 75th Anniversary Newsletter
As NACD celebrates its 75th Anniversary this year, they will be releasing a special monthly newsletter, highlighting conservation districts' successes over the years. Entitled "Diamonds Out of the Dust: 75 Years of Conservation District Success Stories," this monthly newsletter features stories submitted by conservation districts and state associations across the nation.
2021 Stewardship Week Celebrates Forest Health
This year, NACD is celebrating its 66th Annual Stewardship Week from April 25-May 2, 2021, focusing on the theme, “Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities.” Visit NACD’s website to learn how you can celebrate trees and get involved in forest conservation by hosting socially-distanced forest and state park tours and presentations, deliver online forestry workshops and demonstrations, share a press release with local media, sign and mail proclamations to your governor in support of Stewardship Week, and organize other virtual events.
Indiana State Fairgrounds Education Program Offers Augmented Reality Experiences for Students
INDIANAPOLIS (March 22, 2021) — In celebration of National Ag Day, the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture have teamed up to launch a new augmented reality education opportunity for students of all ages but with a focus on grades eight, nine and 10. “The ability for students to learn about our diverse agricultural systems through a cutting-edge experience like augmented reality is outstanding,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “The hard work put into these education modules from the State Fairgrounds staff will help capture our children’s minds while also serving as a good representation of our agriculture industries in Indiana.”
State Board of Accounts Training
for Indiana Districts
December 1
10 am - 12 pm (EST)
By Jerry Raynor
Indiana NRCS State Conservationist
In an age where you can order groceries through an app and have them delivered to your door or buy new clothes online without ever leaving the house, it is easy to forget where those things come from.
The fully stocked shelves at the grocery store and the fibers used to make those new clothes are the byproducts of American agriculture and the hard work of countless men and women here in Indiana and throughout the country.
Today, on National Agriculture Day, we celebrate the farmers who grow the crops and raise the animals in order to feed and clothe the world while also looking to the future in a changing industry.
USDA Announces Expansion of DamWatch® to Serve Forest Service Dams
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has entered into an interagency agreement with the Forest Service to add up to 600 of its dams to NRCS’s Nationwide DamWatch® system. DamWatch® is a web-based application developed to assist with monitoring and managing NRCS-assisted dams by providing real-time updates of rainfall, snowmelt, stream flow and seismic events that could affect dam safety.
“Adding Forest Service dams to the DamWatch® application will help them maintain dam safety without the expense of developing their own application,” said NRCS Acting Chief Terry Cosby. “The system is easy to scale to include the additional dams and will help keep the public safe and protect infrastructure.”
Conservation Innovations newsletter
USDA Seeks Innovative Partner-led Projects Delivering Sustainable Agricultural Solutions
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking proposals to fund up to $75 million in new, unique projects under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program’s (RCPP) Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA) that take innovative and non-traditional approaches to conservation solutions at the local, regional and landscape scales. In making selections. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will prioritize projects related to climate smart agriculture and forestry. NRCS will fund up to 15 projects this year through AFA, where partners have more flexibility in working directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be effectively implemented through the classic RCPP.
USDA Offers Conservation Stewardship Program Participants Renewal Options for Contracts Set to Close
March 12, 2021 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it is accepting Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) renewal applications through March 31 for over 11,000 contracts set to end this year. CSP is USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with more than 90 million acres enrolled. “In fiscal year 2020, NRCS helped enhance over 74,000 acres of land enrolled in CSP in Indiana,” said Jerry Raynor, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state conservationist. “CSP continues to prove its worth by helping farmers advance their business operations through conservation enhancements on their land that sustain the natural resources that improve productivity and their bottom lines.”
Other News
Call for 2021 Pollinator Advocate and Agricultural Pollinator Conservation Awards
Pollinator Advocates understand just how important pollinators are to food, culture, and life. They have taken that extra step to help out the birds, bees, butterflies, moths, and bats that support agriculture and ecosystems everywhere. NAPPC, through its recognition and appreciation of Pollinator Advocates, encourages their activities and hopes to catalyze future actions on behalf of pollinators. (nominations due July 16)
Pre-Order the 2021 Pollinator Poster!
IT'S HERE!  The 2021 Pollinators and Agriculture Poster (photo above) is now available for pre-order. This year's poster, created by artist Hugo Salais at Metazoa Studio, is an artistic depiction of the harmony that can be achieved when agricultural landscapes embrace pollinator-friendly management practices. These management practices promote pollinator populations and diversity in agricultural landscapes, resulting in important benefits to both pollinators and farmers! More information on the poster, species, and artist will also be available on our website coming soon.
Educational Webinars
Xerces has a full schedule of educational webinars this spring to help you turn your conservation dreams into action. Topics include ways to attract and support pollinators in managed landscapes, how water quality practices can benefit pollinators, soil invertebrates, and creating community with our insect neighbors. In honor of Earth Day, on April 22nd, Scott Black will give a talk titled "Insect Apocalypse? What Is Really Happening, Why It Matters and How We Can All Be a Vital Part of the Solution." All of their webinars are posted to their YouTube channel after the event.
USDA Announces $218 Million Investment in Land and Water Conservation
Washington, March 18, 2021 -
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the USDA Forest Service will invest more than $218 million to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects to conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support rural economic recovery, and increase public access to national forests and grasslands. Leveraging the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provided by Congress, this investment will improve public access by funding strategic land acquisitions. Funds will also support work with state agencies to encourage private forest landowners to protect their land through conservation easements or land purchases.
Job Postings :
Current list of Conservation Job Opportunities now posted on the IASWCD website.
Note: Job Postings can be submitted to Amy Work at: amy-work@iaswcd.org . Please include job description and deadline to apply in a single PDF file or with a link.
Upcoming Conservation Events :
March 31 - NE & NW Regional CCSI Teleconferences
Now through April 4 - Self-Guided Farm Tour, Tippecanoe Co.
April 7 - IASWCD Lunch 'n Learn
April 21 - IASWCD Lunch 'n Learn
April 23 - Virtual Pond Clinic, Dearborn Co.
For a complete list of upcoming conservation events, go to the Events Calendar on the IASWCD website.*
*Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, events are changing daily. Please check the individual hosting organization's website and/or Facebook page for the latest information on cancellations and reschedule dates. Thank you.