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Conservation INsight
March 18, 2020
2021 Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs: Call for Presentations
Submit by April 3
Each year, the Indiana SWCD Conference offers a unique learning and training opportunity for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors, Staff, and Conservation Partners. 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. Presentation information should be submitted online by April 3.
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You can view past Conservation INsight eNewsletter editions on the IASWCD website ?

2020 Legislative Updates are posted on the IASWCD website/CWI page ?

The 2019 IASWCD Annual Report and IASWCD Region Director's map and other board information can be found on the IASWCD website/Board page ?
NACD Launches Conservation Education Hub
NACD's  Conservation Education Hub  has officially launched on NACD's website! The hub contains all of NACD's Stewardship and Education materials, access to the Marketplace, as well as curriculum guides for students at all levels. Check it out!

NACD Releases Pollinator Conservation Field Day Guide
WASHINGTON – The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) announced the release of a free, first-of-its-kind curriculum, “A Guide to Conducting a Pollinator Conservation Field Day,” available for download through NACD’s new  Conservation Education Hub
The guide was developed through support from the David Rockefeller Fund Pollinator Education Initiative Grant and the Pollinator Partnership.
This new curriculum is designed to provide interactive learning experiences for grades K-8, engaging them in habitat-focused, pollinator-themed activities for the classroom and outdoors. 
2020 Conservation Planning Boot Camp
May 5-21, 2020
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
NACD is currently accepting applications for the 2020 Conservation Planning Boot Camp (CPBC).
CPBC is a three-week intensive training course for district and tribal conservation district employees working to become a certified planner. During the session, course participants work side-by-side with new Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff on developing and implementing conservation plans. Space is limited and the deadline to apply is  March 24, 2020 .
NACD 2019 Annual Report
In the 2019 Annual Report, you will find details and success stories on the national association's continual work in putting more boots on the ground, from its third round of Technical Assistance Grant funding to the continued partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in providing the fourth round of funding in Urban Agriculture Grants. This past year's annual report also highlights the work of districts across the nation from working with dairy farmers to improve water quality in Vermont (page 26) to collaborating with local partners in creating more awareness of marine conservation in Washington State (page 38). You will hear from each of NACD's region representatives as they reflect on all that has been accomplished this past year in their region.  
NACD D.C. Office closed through March 27
NACD’s Washington, D.C. office will be closed with staff teleworking until Friday, March 27 in order to take proactive steps to address concerns over the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
NACD wants to ensure the continuity of normal business operations, and you can reach NACD staff during regular business hours as usual via email or by calling the main line: (202) 547-NACD. In the meantime, we will continue to update our members on any changes during this time.
LAST CALL: 2020 IDEA Membership Dues now being accepted through March 31
IDEA's mission is to enhance and recognize local conservation programs and efforts through a network which provides leadership, support, and education for its members. Your IDEA Region Directors are here for you and they are eager to help you carry out the vision.
Leadership Institute Rescheduled
The LI Cornerstone: Communications training originally scheduled for March 27 in Whitley County has been postponed until June. Stay tuned for further details. Please contact Tara Wesseler-Henry or Jennifer Thum with any questions.
Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence - Nominations Close April 6
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence. These awards recognize individuals and organizations that have implemented outstanding environmental strategies into their operations and decision-making processes. “These are Indiana's most prestigious environmental recognition awards," said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. 
Making a Real Difference
IDEM has worked side by side with numerous locally-led watershed groups to help improve water quality. IDEM Clean Water Act grants and funds from a variety of innovative partnerships have helped clean up our rivers and streams by increasing education, developing effective water quality improvement plans, and helping individual landowners manage their land in ways that benefit our waterways. Over time, these projects have led to measurable improvements in water quality in our rivers, streams, and lakes. Read these case studies to learn more about what has been accomplished by working together and how these small actions have led to big changes.
USDA Sets March 20 Application Cutoff for CSP Renewals
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) renewal applications through March 20. Local NRCS offices mailed contract renewal notification letters to all participants whose contracts expire in 2020. These letters contain instructions on how to apply for CSP renewal. Participants with existing CSP contracts expiring on May 14, 2020 can renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. For 2014-1 CSP contract holders, only those who extended their contracts for one year in 2019 will be eligible for renewal.
Newsletters of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS)
USDA Seeks Proposals for On-Farm Conservation and Soil Health Test Projects
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through May 11 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials). On-Farm Trials, part of the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, help support the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural land. “NRCS has achieved tremendous success seeking innovative technologies and approaches to enhance conservation for agricultural producers and forest landowners for nearly 20 years,” said Indiana NRCS Acting State Conservationist Mike Cox.
Indiana NRCS Announces Applications Deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program
March 11 (Indianapolis) - USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist Mike Cox announced today that Indiana is now accepting applications for enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program. While applications are accepted year-round, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by June 1, 2020 to be considered for this funding period.
New USDA Team Serves Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
USDA continues to make progress in institutionalizing support for beginning farmers and ranchers as required in the 2018 Farm Bill. Sarah Campbell will lead a department-wide team of state coordinators from the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Risk Management Agency, and Rural Development. The team will work to increase beginning farmer participation and access to programs while coordinating nationwide efforts on beginning farmers and ranchers.
USDA to Open Signup March 16 for Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 5, 2020 – Farmers and ranchers may apply to enroll grasslands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands signup beginning March 16. The signup runs through May 15. “Through this CRP Grasslands signup, farmers and ranchers can protect grasslands, rangelands and pastures, while maintaining the land as working grazing lands,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “The program emphasizes support for grazing operations and plant and animal biodiversity, while protecting land under the greatest threat of conversion or development.”
Purdue Extension News
Pasture and Hay Field Renovations:
The Do’s and Don’ts Webinar
 March 31, 2020
12:00 – 1:00 PM EST
Presented By: Brooke Stefancik,
Purdue Extension Sullivan County
 This webinar will cover the best management practices of evaluating pastures and hay fields to see if they need renovation and then will discuss the steps to renovation. It will focus on practical ways to start pasture renovation, even for those on a budget.
Wild Bulletin: News from the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife
Other News
U.S. Farmer Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award Submission
The Pollinator Partnership (P2) and NACD are now seeking submissions for its 2020 U.S. Farmer Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award.
Each year, awards are given in recognition of all the work that goes into protecting American pollinator populations.
AgriInstitute's Benefit Goes Virtual
On-Line Silent Auction
Replaces In-Person Gathering
No in-person gathering, but AI will utilize technology, an online auction website, to conduct their silent auction. Bidding will start on March 23 and continue until 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 28. You can now view the auction items here: www.givergy.us/alp20  
March 26 CISMA Conference Rescheduled to August
Due to the current situation with the Covid-19 virus, the 2020 CISMA Conference has been postponed and rescheduled to August 20. Save the Date! The agenda will remain as previously planned.
Schedule your Women4theLand Learning Circle
As you are considering your outreach efforts this year, be sure to add a women’s learning circle to the calendar. While most circles are hosted by the local SWCD, anyone can host a circle with support from Women4theLand. Because of the current health situation and the lead time in planning, circles can still be scheduled as early as mid-May or June but also consider the Fall for cooler weather and plenty of planning lead time. Circle discussions can focus on a variety of conservation topics and soil health is the core message for most circles. W4L has a relatively new curriculum on Conservation Planning that works well to help landowners think about their goals and to introduce specific practices. To learn more or schedule a circle, contact Heather Bacher, Women4theLand Coordinator, at  hbacher@women4theland.org
Maumee and Sandusky Basins Water Quality Project Receives EPA Great Lakes Grant
WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (February 24, 2020)—The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), in partnership with Ecosystem Services Marketplace Consortium (ESMC), Heidelberg University in Ohio, and others, has been awarded a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede announced today in a Chicago press event that the agency will fund the groups' three-year project—which uses satellite data, sophisticated models, farmer training programs, and direct incentives to create a market-driven reduction in phosphorus (P) runoff in the Ohio watersheds—with more than $472,000.
The Forestry Webinar Portal, a service of the USDA Forest Service, North Carolina State University Forestry Extension and other partners, focuses on forestry and natural resource management targeting forestry and natural resource professionals, landowners and other interested in keeping up-to-date on the latest best practices and research.
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  :
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.