Welcome to Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District
What’s New in Indianapolis, IN?
Welcome to our website! We hope you will find the layout easy to use. Take a few minutes to tour the site. If you have any suggestions for changes or additional information, please let us know. We want this site to be as useful as possible for you.
For future visits you will find the newest updates right here on our home page and also under the “News” tab above.
Mark Your Calendar – Marion County SWCD Annual Meeting
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Please join Marion County SWCD for our annual meeting on February 23rd , 2016, from 5:00-8:00pm at Discovery Hall on the Indiana State Fairgrounds campus. This has been an exciting year at MCSWCD, and we look forward to sharing our work in soil and water conservation, including a presentation from Kevin Allison on our new Healthy Soils Program, the latest on the city’s Stormwater Credits, and with updates from our partners: IASWCD’s Leah Harmon and NRCS’s Jerod Chew. The evening will culminate with our Keynote Speaker, Phyllis Boyd of Groundwork Indy.
Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to the office 317-786-1776.
Recycle, Mulch or Create Backyard Bird Habitat with Your Christmas Tree
As the holiday season comes to an end, consider recycling or repurposing your Christmas tree. According to Carrie Tauscher, DNR Division of Forestry’s Community and Urban Forest program director, options include taking the tree to a designated Christmas tree recycling site, tossing it in the backyard to provide shelter for wintering birds or other wildlife, running it through a wood chipper to create mulch, or chopping it up for firewood.
One option the DNR doesn’t generally suggest is tossing trees into a lake to create fish attractors.
“Fish attractors tend to bring fish and fishermen together,” said Brian Schoenung, chief fisheries biologist for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “They provide cover but don’t necessarily grow more fish.”
Discarding a Christmas tree on a private pond is at the owner’s discretion, but doing so on public freshwater lakes is governed by the Lake Preservation Act (Indiana Code 14-26-2) and Indiana Administrative Code (312 IAC 11-4-7). Those two laws require a license from the DNR to construct or place a fish attractor in a public freshwater lake. To qualify, the fish attractor must be anchored to ensure proper setting and must not be placed in a channel, a beach area, near the lake surface or in an area that would adversely affect public safety and navigation, or adversely affect the natural resources or natural scenic beauty. If approved, the permit carries a $100 fee and requires the permit holder to remove any portion or portions of the fish attractor that become unattached.
An option to consider next year is buying a live balled and burlap tree. Enjoy it inside for a few days over the holidays and then plant it outside to enjoy for years to come.
The Marion County SWCD’s quarterly newsletters and annual report will now only be available online in order to conserve resources. You can find our newsletters under the NEWS tab on our website or we will email a copy to you upon request.
To be added to our email list please contact Marilyn at
What to do if you find a baby or injured animal
Every fall, kind-hearted Hoosiers “rescue” an injured or seemingly abandoned baby wild animal and try to care for it.
The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife has one thing to say: Don’t do it.
“Most baby animals are not abandoned,” said Michelle Cain, DNR wildlife information specialist. “Many animals leave their young alone when searching for food and come back to them throughout the day. They also use this as a way to deter predators because a predator may follow the mother back to its young.”
Picking up a baby animal that is not orphaned or abandoned can harm the animal and takes it out of its natural environment. It’s also illegal.
If you believe the animal is truly abandoned, or you know that the mother is dead, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators are educated to properly care for wild animals. In the hands of an untrained person, an animal is unlikely to survive if it is returned to the wild.
Wild animals also pose safety and health risks for humans. They may look helpless, cute and cuddly, but they can bite or scratch people who attempt to handle them. Some wild animals carry parasites and infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
The best way to make sure an animal is orphaned is to wait and check it periodically. If you are unsure, place some strings or sticks across the nest. Place some grass across the top of a rabbit nest that is found with young in it. If such items are later disturbed, the mother has probably returned, so leave the young animal alone.
If a bird has fallen out of a nest, it is OK to gently return it to the nest.
Rehabilitator contact information is at dnr.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/5492.htm. Click on “wildlife rehabilitator” near the bottom of the page for a list. Assistance can also be found by:
–Calling the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife in Indianapolis at (317) 232-4080
–Calling DNR Law Enforcement, 24 hours a day at (812) 837-9536
–Calling a licensed veterinarian
State laws prohibit keeping wild animals without a DNR-issued permit. Federal laws also prohibit possession of migratory birds, including songbirds, raptors and waterfowl. It is illegal to treat wild animals for sickness or injury without a permit.
In the spring, ducks or geese often nest in landscaping or gardens. Leave the nest alone and keep any pets away. Be aware that the bird may return next year. If the bird becomes a nuisance, call a nuisance waterfowl control operator. A contact list is at dnr.IN.gov/fishwild/files/fw-NuisanceWaterfowlControlOperators.pdf.
Lend a Hand – Farmers Helping Urban Farmers Program
The Fall Creek Watershed Project has initiated a program to help urban farmers, gardeners and conservationists share their needs with their rural farming neighbors. Urban gardening projects who are in need of a variety of materials have created a list of their needs. Rural farmers, horse and poultry owners, gardening centers and other who wish to help supply these needs can contact Leslie White, Backyard Conservation Coordinator for the Fall Creek Watershed Project ( email@example.com). While this project is initially being started to help projects in the Fall Creek watershed, it is hoped that the idea will soon spread to other counties and communities.
Check our Small Farms website page often for updates on how you can help. For more information click HERE.
Water Water Everywhere! Standing Water – Wet Crawlspace – Flooding Basement ???
If all the rain we’ve been having lately is causing drainage problems our website can get you started on the road to a solution.
Phone Number for Citizens Energy Group for Community Drainage Concerns
Please make a note of the new Citizens Energy Group contact number: 924-3311. Residents with flooding, storm water issues, manhole cover capping recess concerns or other water issues, this is the number to call. Citizens Energy Group is responsible for maintaining city storm drains. For technical assistance with drainage problems on private property you can continue to contact the Soil & Water Conservation District 786-1776.