-Article by Carolyn Ahler, Watershed Outreach Coordinator-
Things are really starting to cool off and quiet down for the Upper Iroquois Watershed Initiative. With the grant ending on November 8th, 2018 we have been busy with office work and the end of the grant reporting. We are currently working on the end of grant social indicator survey in coordination with local partners and Purdue University. The purpose is to identify the concerns and track our work over the last 5 years. The survey responses are needed to continue to direct future planning and grant dollar projects. For those of you who received the social indicator survey in the mail please fill out the survey and return it using the pre-stamped, pre-addressed return envelope. Your voluntary participation in this survey is very important to understanding your needs and concerns. Your answers will be kept confidential and will be released only as summaries. Individual answers cannot be identified. Thank you in advance for your participation!
As most of my readers know, I work for the Upper Iroquois Watershed Initiative (UIWI), a joint venture of the Jasper and Newton County SWCDs. The Mission of the UIWI is “Connecting people for watershed improvement to ensure an ecological and economically healthy Iroquois River watershed for today and generations to come”. The Upper Iroquois Watershed Initiative is funded by Federal Clean Water Act Section 319 and is overseen by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Unfortunately, we did not receive funding for another Implementation grant, so the Upper Iroquois Watershed Initiative funding will end in November 2018. We can apply for another Implementation grant in future years, but for now that means that work will be halted in November 2018. We still have plenty of work to do this year though!
Does that mean I am out of a job? Well maybe, but hopefully no. The Jasper County SWCD recently applied for another Federal Clean Water Act Section 319 for a different project in Jasper County. Our application is still being processed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and we hope to hear back this spring if the new project is funded. The project would be for the Kankakee River, and it would be to write a Watershed Management Plan for the section of the Kankakee River that runs through Jasper County and part of Newton County. As most of you know, the Kankakee River is a highly modified river and would pose new and exciting challenges for the Jasper County SWCD. If we receive funding for this project I will continue my job as the Watershed Outreach Coordinator and begin working on the new grant project, along with wrapping up the UIWI grant project that ends this November. Keep your fingers crossed that we receive funding and can continue our exciting work in Jasper County!