State Officials See Conservation in Action

Joe Kelsay

Top state officials got a chance to see on-farm conservation up close on Thursday. ISDA Director Joe Kelsay and Division of Soil and Water conservation staff saw conservation practices in action on two farms in Hendricks County.  Kelsay said this is an example of what can be accomplished when farmers and state and federal agencies work together, “The purpose of what we are doing today is to see real action on the ground and see how the partners are working together.” He added these site are good examples of what farmers can do to improve conservation and soil health on their land.


Using state-of-the-art technology on the Starkey and Maloney farms, a 60 foot wide grass waterway has been constructed as part of the Eagle Creek Watershed.  Kelsay said this is a prime example of how it should be done, “This is a nice display of what doing it right should look like.”  He told HAT this watershed is important because it impacts the drinking water supply for Indianapolis, “But we have a group of farmers who are committed to conservation and have found a way to benefit the environment but also benefit their operations.”  While at the site, Kelsay was put to work using laser technology to measure the specifications of the waterway to make sure it had been constructed within the guidelines. Special netting was used to hold the soil in place while grass was being grown.


ISDA Division of Conservation DirectorJerod Chew says this there are funds and technical assistance through CREP and CRP that can help farmers make this kind of investment in their land, “These are programs that are underutilized in the state.” He said there is technical and financial assistance available for farmers who want to make this kind of improvement to their land.  In addition, the group visited a 4.5 acre forest buffer constructed with CREP funding and a 23.7 acre CRP Safe Planting area.

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The Eagle Creek Watershed is part of the Upper White River Watershed and drains into Eagle Creek Reservoir, which serves as a public drinking water supply for Indianapolis.  The watershed has a Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) of 05120201120 and has a drainage area of 162 square miles north of the Eagle Creek Dam located approximately 10 miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis.  The watershed runs through parts of Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, and Marion Counties.  The dominant land-cover is agriculture with some portions of the watershed, particularly those closest to the reservoir, undergoing increased urbanization.

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