TRAIL CREEK Riparian Conservation Field Day – In Action

Fifteen conservation-minded farmers, non-farming landowners and policy makers toured Tony Ekovich’s farm on a beautiful evening in early June to see three of his conservation practices up close and in action.  Participants learned of the great benefits Tony has seen with the use of his filter strips, the enormous and greatly-successful grassed waterway that cuts through the center of the fields and now stops all previous field gullying, as well as an ecological bonus and beautiful water spot where there was once only failed plowing attempts and a frustrated farmer.  

Check out the evening’s videos and pictures, and post your questions or comments, below.

Don’t forget, we’re hosting another field day on Saturday, June 25th for the Galena Watershed.  Call the LaPorte SWCD office for more information: 219-362-6633, ext. 3.

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TRAIL CREEK Field Day makes front page of Michigan City News Dispatch

Our Field Day at Tony Ekovich’s farm, LaPorte SWCD Supervisor, was nicely covered by the Michigan City News Dispatch.   Check out the article at this link:

http://thenewsdispatch.com/articles/2011/06/05/news/local/doc4de9b5ceecd15831731482.txt

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Interest and issues within the Galena watershed – meet The Browns and their pooch, Toots.

Trying to take a picture of a darting salmon is like trying to catch a fly bare-handed, but within this pebble-filled section of stream are a few of the Galena River’s spawning salmon.  If you look close enough, you’ll see the long, gray body of one salmon, feeding within the pebbles of the River that flows through David Brown’s property – in the far northern reaches of the County.  And, if you don’t see the salmon, think of this photo as a Rorschach test – what potential for rich aquatic biology do you see in the pebbley Galena?

David Brown and his dog, Toots – a beautiful and lucky Boxer.

David Brown and his wife, Marianne, have a stunning and unique property in northern Laporte County, just a stone’s throw from the Indiana – Michigan line and right near the friendly neighbors of Stateline Horse Stables.  David and Marianne are interested in improving the water quality of the stream, for improved fish habitat.  Additionally, they want to stop some of the water scouring after heavy rains, a force that eats away the banks of stream and cuts into their back yard, all leading to incredible flooding. And, because they love the outdoors and are good at linking projects and people, they’ve started cleaning out the invasive honeysuckle and multiflora rose that invades their stream’s banks and woods – working with some scouts to get the tough job done quickly. 

David and Marianne are exploring some possible cost-share opportunities to improve the health of the stream and woods through the LaPorte County Conservation Technical Assistance Initiative.  We will keep you posted on our collaborative progress.  In the meantime, scroll through the beauty of their property, just as the Redbuds were blooming and the Sycamore’s were only just budding.

 Spare Spring woods before the full lushness of a summer canopy.

 Steep banks of Brown property along Galena River.

 Beavers at work.

 View from house deck – looking down far to south of Galena River.

 View from house deck looking mid-south point of Galena.

Views from house deck looking mid-point and to the north of property, as Galena River meanders through the woods.  Notice Tulip, Sycamore and blooming Redbud tree.

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Announcing Conservation Technical Assistance for LaPorte County

Conservation cost-share programs and technical assistance are now available for private landowners in northern LaPorte County.  For public landowners, technical, on-site assistance is available for any conservation and land sustainability question or issue you might have.

If you are a land owner in Northern LaPorte County and live within the Galena, Trail Creek or Little Calumet Watersheds, you qualify for a new and critically-important program from the LaPorte County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).  Through funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the District staff will promote and implement conservation practices on private lands as well as visit with landowners and provide technical assistance on conservation issues, for private or public landowners.  Some examples of conservation practices that may qualify for a cost-share incentive, or examples of on-site technical assistance include:

  • Tree plantings for windbreaks or enhanced wildlife habitat
  • Wetland restoration
  • Pollinator gardens
  • Invasive species controls, e.g. removal of honeysuckle, buckthorn, purple loosestrife
  • Warm season grass plantings as riparian filter strips or for enhanced habitat
  • Riparian woodland buffers
  • Erosion and sediment control on woodlots and agricultural lands

This is a great chance for incorporating healthy habitat and common-sense conservation onto your property and helping LaPorte County knit together a rich network of natural resources and high-quality greenery.  These types of cost-share opportunities are commonly used by farm owners, particularly row-crop producers.  However, the District recognizes the important role that all County landowners have in creating robust and resilient habitats.  With this temporary initiative, the District is working to expand its network of landowners engaged in conservation.

For more information on the Conservation Technical Assistance program including eligibility, specific practices, and cost-share details please contact Julia Plumb at the LaPorte SWCD office @ 219-362.6633, ext. 3, or via e-mail:  julia.plumb@in.nacdnet.net.

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