The Clean Water Indiana program funding is helping support important water quality and soil conservation projects around Indiana. The only problem, in some people's minds, is that there is far too little money in the fund to go around and meet the needs in the state.
"Soil and water conservation districts are the best delivery system for ensuring clean water in Indiana," says Ray Chattin, a Knox County SWCD associate supervisor, and legislative co-chairman of the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. "The problem is that districts almost everywhere are struggling to find enough money to maintain quality staff and promote projects."
Clean Water Indiana, the successor to the T by 2000 program, has never been adequately funded, at least not in Chattin's eyes. He contends that SWCDs at the county have less spending power supplied by state soil conservation funds today than they did 10 years ago.
The IASWCD leadership sought 17 million dollars in '07. Before the request became an actual bill, it was lowered to $5 million over the upcoming two-year period, now underway, based upon advice from politicians. "That still would have helped a lot, and made a big difference," Chattin says.
That version passed the House, but when the dust settled, and both houses agreed on a budget, an extra $1 million was added to Clean Water Indiana for the two-year period, or $500,000 per year. Anything with a million dollar tag attached to it is nothing to sneeze at. The problem, Chattin contends, is that the challenges facing districts in the amount of work that needs to be done are just too great to make a dent at such funding levels.
Still, some Clean Water Indiana money is making a difference in how specific SWCDs can deliver services. The Wayne County SWCD requested funds to help promote education amongst livestock producers, hoping to demonstrate how to better us pastures and protect both the soil and water quality at the same time. Raquel Baker, technician for the Wayne County SWCD, says their request was successful The result is a Pasture and Livestock Clinic slated for Saturday, July 12 at the Heritage Cattle Company farm near Milton, on Pennville Road.
The program begins at 8 a.m. EDT, includes lunch and an optional farm tour at 1 p.m. Topics include a discussion and show and tell of soil and water conservation improvements made on the host farm, plus an update on pasture management by Robert Zupancic, Natural Resources Service grazing specialist.
Other talks include how to us commodity feeds, by John Johns, well-known animal scientist from the University of Kentucky, and how to estimate how much feed you can harvest from forage of different sizes, courtesy of Ed Heckman, former Wayne County Extension ag educator, now retired.
Reservations are requested by July 9. The event is open to the public, and will go off rain or shine. Contact the Wayne County SWCD at 765-966-0191, ext 3.