The city of Ft. Wayne pulls its drinking water from the river. Before the water gets to Ft. Wayne, it runs through farm country. Tributaries feeding into it border many farm fields. They also border residential and recreational areas. All of these areas are sources of pollution and contamination of the river system unless landowners, farmers and local residents do what they can to promote actual conservation and make attempts to keep sediments and nutrients out of the water.
Several watershed projects have been successful in getting more conservation on the land in that northeast Indiana area over the past 25 years. One of the most talked-about and most successful within the past two decades was the Fish Creek watershed project in Steuben County. It's another tributary that eventually drains into a river, and that can have an impact on water quality.
The northeast Indiana area is also targeted for conservation work because part of the watersheds drain into the Great Lakes. And within the Great Lakes system, there are endangered species of aquatic life that make their home there. All this adds up to the opportunity for federal grants and funding. Local groups have taken advantage of it.
Some of the practices promoted through funding in the past are no-till farming and use of filter strips.
The conservation ethic is on display once each year at the Tri-State Conservation Expo. Jim Lake of the Indiana Division of Soil Conservation, reports that the 9th annual Expo is slated for February 15 at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn in DeKalb County. It's sponsored by the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative, and promoted by a host of groups, including local soil and water conservation districts.
This year's Expo features an internationally known speaker, Jill Clapperton. Her topic will be soil biology, and hot it relates to sustainability and profitability. Sustainability is a politically correct term these days. However, it's seldom used in the same sentence with profitability. Come se how these two concepts can co-exist on the same farm.
Other speakers include Tom Henry, the Mayor of Ft. Wayne, Joe Kelsay, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Chris Hurt and Fred Whitford from Purdue University, Joe Nester , a crops consultant with his own company, Nester Ag Management, Justin Chaffin from the University of Toledo in Ohio, and Warren McCrimmon from the Port of Toledo.
Exhibitors will also be on hand to display key products and topics on soil conservation. Registration is $20, which includes free access to the museum for the day. The program begins at 7:45 a.m. EST. To register and purchase tickets for the event, call your local soil and water conservation district office if you are in northeast Indiana, or call 260-484-5848, ext. 120. You can also learn more about exhibitors and other details at this Website: www.sjrwi.org.