Inside INdiana Business

Conservation program awarded $500K grant

(photo courtesy of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s conservation program is the recipient of a $500,000 grant. The ISDA says the funding will be used throughout the state to increase soil conservation practices and to improve water quality in watersheds.

The department says the grant was provided from a legal settlement that was stewarded in part by the Indiana Wildlife Federation.

“This funding will go a long way in helping to implement conservation practices such as filter strips, wetland restorations and bottomland timber plantings which will reduce pollution and improve water quality. We are very grateful for this support toward the CREP program,” said Julie Harrold, the ISDA CREP Program Manager.

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is a partnership between the ISDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency and seeks to reduce pollution and improve water quality. ISDA says the program creates buffers and wetlands that reduce pollution from agricultural runoff into the targeted watersheds near the Wabash and White Rivers.

In the last several years, the ISDA says there has been a high interest in the program by landowners, creating a demand that exceeds available funding. The department says it expects demand will continue to increase as participants continue to enroll land into the program.

The ISDA says the grant came from the American Electric Power Mitigation Money Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, to help cover the demand.

Additionally, the department says the funding will leverage over $3.5 million of federal USDA funds that will go to landowners to make improvements.

The department says the funds came from American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), parent of Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power. In a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states and 13 citizens groups, AEP agreed to invest $3.5 million to improve air quality and to reduce pollution in Indiana through various projects.