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Around the Basin
News and information

Indiana | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Basinwide

Indiana

Hammond Port Authority looks to address inland beach erosion
Hammond Port Authority officials are hoping an initial $40,000 planning grant from the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program will help them combat inland beach erosion near the Hammond Marina. Ice buildup over the winters has created openings in the bluff areas near the bird sanctuary trail that's west of the marina, said Milan Kruszynski, the port authority's director. "The voids concern me, especially when people are walking up there through the bird sanctuary," Kruszynski said. "It's just adjacent and outside the sanctuary itself. It's a safety concern." The planning and engineering stages are required before applying for additional grants, he said. The authority matched the $40,000 grant from the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program.

Read full story online

Ohio

NRCS Accepting Applications from Ohio Farmers for Key Conservation Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications to help producers improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits.

NRCS has directed over $13 million in financial assistance for fiscal 2013 to help Ohio producers implement conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the agency's largest Farm Bill conservation program. Interested producers should visit their local NRCS service center for information on EQIP sign-up periods.

See full online announcement.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Preserves Nearly 2,100 Acres of Farmland
More than 470,000 acres now preserved statewide. Pennsylvania's Agricultural Land Preservation Board today safeguarded 2,064 additional acres on 22 farms in 17 counties through the state's nationally renowned farmland preservation program.

Since the program began in 1988, state, county and local governments have invested nearly $1.2 billion to preserve 470,155 acres on 4,364 farms in 57 counties for future agricultural production.

"Through this program, we're not just preserving farmland, but a way of life and a major economic driver for the state," Agriculture Secretary George Greig said. "Agriculture generates $6.7 billion in cash receipts and supports one in seven jobs across Pennsylvania. We're helping to keep farmers farming and securing a stable financial future in the state."

For more information, see: press release.

Basinwide

Cover Crop Bonanza Nearly Doubles Acreage Goal
Enthusiastic farmers in the Great Lakes region planted more than 27,500 acres of cover crops as part of the Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative, leaving the project's three-year, 15,000-acre goal far behind.

The Great Lakes Cover Crops Initiative (GLCCI) promotes cover crops and conservation tillage in the watersheds around Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Working closely with extension educators from Michigan State University, The Ohio State University and Purdue University, CTIC is helping deliver the technical, educational and social support to help farmers incorporate cover crops and conservation tillage into their operations and evaluate the changes.

GLCCI is built around a model of adaptive management, encouraging farmers and advisors to assess the benefits and challenges of cover crops and continually adjust their practices to make the systems increasingly effective at protecting water quality and profitability.

See full story.

NACD Comments on EPA Draft "319" Grant Guidance
In comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) President Gene Schmidt stressed that the federal role in water resources management should be one of cooperation. The comments are in response to EPA's most recent draft guidance to states and territories on awarding 319 grants under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for implementing Nonpoint Source (NPS) management programs. Conservation Districts use the 319 NPS Program to increase the utilization of agricultural best management practices ("BMPs") such as buffer strips, conservation tillage, and nutrient management, as well as to implement low impact development and storm-water management practices to protect urban water quality.

When it comes to EPA's treatment of Total Maximum Daily Loads ("TMDLs") and the 319 NPS program, efforts addressing impairments should be locally-led. "The best way to promote and implement conservation is through locally-led efforts," said Schmidt. "Many states are already successfully leveraging non-federal money, along with Farm Bill conservation program funding and 319 grant funding, to achieve significant water resource goals."

Read full press release

Featured website: Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC)
The goal of the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) is to facilitate widespread adoption of cover crops throughout the Midwest, to improve ecological, economic, and social sustainability. The MCCC is a diverse group from academia, production agriculture, non-governmental organizations, commodity interests, private sector, and representatives from federal and state agencies collaborating to address soil, water, air, and agricultural quality concerns in the Great Lakes and Mississippi river basins (including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Manitoba, Ontario, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota).

Website: http://www.mccc.msu.edu/

Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150.  www.glc.org. GLIN Partner