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Conservation INsight
April 29, 2020
LAST CALL! 2021 Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs DUE MAY 1
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, and 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 May 1.
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Nominations now being accepted for the 2020  River Friendly Farmer Award - due June 12
Each county Soil and Water Conservation District may nominate up to two farmers who are doing 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. Visit the IASWCD website for nomination forms and more information.  Deadline to submit nominations and the required signature page: June 12, 2020.
NACD Requests Additional Support for Conservation Districts in Next Stimulus
On Monday, April 13, NACD sent a letter to Congress requesting additional funding and legislative support for the nation’s nearly 3,000 conservation districts in the next stimulus bills.
“Conservation districts are the backbone of delivering conservation in America,”  NACD President Tim Palmer said . “Unfortunately, as with many small businesses, many conservation districts are currently struggling to continue supporting their communities given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.” In the letter, NACD requests Congress expand the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) to include relief for state and local public-sector entities such as conservation districts that are currently ineligible for the refundable tax credit and payroll assistance programs created under these laws.
D.C. Office Closed Until May 15
NACD’s Washington, D.C. office will remain closed with staff teleworking until Friday, May 15 in light of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
Stewardship Week through May 3
Due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns, we encourage everyone to find virtual ways to celebrate the importance of pollinators, such as hosting a pollinator webinar or delivering a PowerPoint presentation for your conservation district's poster contest. In order to help you start a Stewardship Week campaign in your own community, visit NACD's website, where you'll find a  toolkit social media graphics  and  flyer  that you can distribute electronically.
2021 Clean Water Indiana Grant Program Officially Launched
The State Soil Conservation Board (SSCB) launched the 2021 Clean Water Indiana (CWI) Competitive Grant Program.  The SSCB has voted to utilize CWI Grant Program funds to support competitive proposals for multi‐year projects which address the state priorities in the SSCB’s Business Plan adopted in 2020. The SSCB also launched a Non-SWCD 2021 Grant Program. All applications must be submitted by  September 11, 2020 at 4 pm EDT . Please carefully review the 2021 CWI Grant Guidance with your board(s) before completing the grant application.
USDA Unveils COVID-19 Tool
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a one-stop shop of federal programs that are aimed to help rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The  COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide  is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic. To learn more about this guide and how USDA is taking actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities and rural-based bus inesses and organizations, visit  USDA's website .
USDA Invests More Than $200 Million in Partner-Driven Projects that Protect Natural Resources
Washington (April 16, 2020) - NRCS today announced that it is investing in 48 partner-driven conservation projects across 29 states through its Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). NRCS will award $206 million for these 48 RCPP projects while leveraging nearly $300 million in partner contributions. 
“I’m excited to announce the first RCPP awards under the 2018 Farm Bill,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “Through collaboration and aligning our resources toward a common goal, we’re making an impact for natural resource conservation that could never have been realized on our own.”
Share your #Plant2020 Photos and Videos
Spring planting is underway in Indiana and USDA is following the progress as farmers complete field prep and plant their spring crops. Producers are invited to follow along or get involved by sharing their #Plant2020 photos and videos. I encourage you to help amplify this message by asking your producers to submit their own photos. If you have a producer that would like his/her #Plant2020 photo or video featured, please have him/her send the photo or a 15-second or less video (please use a landscape orientation image rather than portrait), producer name, crop type, and city and state to  sharingoursuccesses@usda.gov
USDA Seeks Proposals for On-Farm Trials
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the availability of $25 million in funding to advance the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation practices on agricultural lands. The funding is for on-farm trials, a sub-program of the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program.
by Jerry Raynor, Indiana NRCS State Conservationist (April 21, 2020)
As Earth Day’s 50th anniversary approaches, we see a complex, changing world ahead of us. Over the past century, we have seen large increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. This buildup of greenhouse gases is changing the Earth's weather and climate and challenging our ability to produce food and fiber.  
Earth Team Volunteers Help NRCS Accomplish its Mission
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) honored Indiana’s Earth Team volunteers and celebrated their many contributions to natural resource protection during National Volunteer week, April 19-25.
Earth Team is a program that allows NRCS to stretch available resources by partnering volunteers with employees to provide a wide range of services to private landowners and the public. These activities can include conservation technical assistance, office support, and generating awareness about conservation through community projects.
Proposals for New National Water Quality Initiative Projects
NRCS is currently soliciting proposals for new National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) projects. NWQI aims to accelerate conservation through targeted approaches in small watersheds. Projects are funded in two phases, the Planning Phase and the Implementation Phase. Please contact Jill Reinhart, Assistant State Conservationist for Partnership at  jill.reinhart@usda.gov  for application materials and watershed assessment criteria. Applications are due to Jill by June 20.
Hoosier Headline:
Indiana NRCS Newsletter
Other News
Native Plant Sale & Auction Postponed to 2021
Plan to attend the Native Plant Sale next year. In the meantime, watch for chapter-led plant swaps, and consult the Buy Natives Directory to find local invasive-free retailers that may be open for business.
Introducing the Soil Health Digital Cafe Series
The Soil Health Nexus team is hosting a series of informal soil health webinars featuring Extension soil health experts and researchers from across the region discussing the latest soil health research, resources, and news. The webinars will take place weekly on April 29, May 6 and May 13 at 2pm CT. 
Farmer-Led Conservation & Watershed Protection Mini-Grant Program
Looking to kickstart or expand farmer-led conservation demonstration efforts? This mini-grant program will support nongovernmental organizations, state or county government agencies, university Extension professionals, and others who support farmers in one or more of the 12 SERA-46/Hypoxia Task Force states in the Mississippi River Basin: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Qualified organizations must partner with an existing farmer or farmer-led organization. Awards will be up to $4000 for one year. Applications will be accepted now through June 1, 2020.
Webinars hosted by The Xerces Society
Find a list of topics and dates at the link below.
Proposals being accepted for Forest Improvement in the Great Lakes Basin
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service anticipates that up to $4.2 million in new funds will be available for tree planting and forest health improvement in the Great Lakes Basin through the GLRI. This funding will be awarded to the highest ranked proposals received through the  June 26, 2020  deadline at  Grants.gov . Search for Grant Opportunity Number  USDA-FS-2020-GLRI .
Funds will be distributed across four program areas:
  • Forest Insect and Disease Mitigation
  • Reduce Runoff from Degraded Sites through Green Infrastructure
  • Protect and Restore Coastal Wetlands through Healthy Tree Cover
  • Restore Resilient Riparian and Shoreline Forests
An  Informational Webinar  will be held  May 12, 10:00 am Eastern/9:00 am Central. 
Master's Student Looking For Envirothon Participant & Alumni Input
Kristen McCune is an Envirothon alumna and is currently working on her master's thesis. She would appreciate input from current and former Envirothon participants as she delves into the E nvirothon program as it functions as an on-ramp for entry into natural resource careers. If you have contact with current or former Envirothon participants in your states/provinces, please take a moment to pass this on to them to complete by May 8. 
Job Postings:
Current list of Conservation Job Opportunities now posted on the
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   :

May 25 - Memorial Day
June 12 - River Friendly Farmer Award Applications due 
August 7-23 - Indiana State Fair
August 19 - River Friendly Farmer Awards Ceremony
October 5-8 - IDEA Fall Conference, Muncie, IN

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.