Starke County Attempting Conservation Projects with State Grants


Two state departments have awarded nearly $1-million in grants that look to improve conservation efforts in the Hoosier State.

According to a press release, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the State Soil Conservation Board reviewed grant applications submitted by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Starke County partnered with Marshall and St. Joseph counties in the grant application process. Two grants of $75-thousand each were awarded to the group.

Grant funds will be used over the course of three years for projects that hope to educate local communities prior to implementation. According Starke County SWCD Coordinator Andrea Surma, the first grant would establish rain gardens in each of the three counties.

Under the plan, floodwater would be diverted into the rain garden, otherwise described as a depression near downspouts or other water intensive areas, and be used to water native plants and flowers.

Surma says the first two years of the grant would be used for education and bringing speakers to all three counties before implementing the projects in all three counties.

The second grant will work to establish incentives for farmers attempting cover crops for the first time. A similar process would be followed, attempting to provide educational opportunities before offering the incentives through the Conservation Reserve Program.