Falling: Leaves and Water Quality

Central Indiana is now experiencing peak fall foliage. The autumn colors can make for a great hike or photography session in Southwestway or Eagle Creek Parks before the cooler temperatures set in. While the leaves are beautiful, they can become problematic to our water flow and quality. Leaves accumulate around storm water inlets and block the flow of water, causing flooding in streets and yards. The larger concern is when those leaves and nutrients make their way into the stormwater pipes and waterways. In a natural setting, the leaves that fall during this time of year are naturally recycled. As [...]

Falling: Leaves and Water Quality 2018-11-05T10:00:16+00:00

Septic Smart Week

Improve Water Quality During Septic Smart Week September 17 - 21 Property owners in Marion County can learn about proper septic system maintenance and why it’s important during SepticSmart Week, Sept. 17-21. SepticSmart Week is a nationwide initiative through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to raise awareness about the need for proper care and maintenance of septic systems. Many homeowners in Marion County still depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. EPA recommends that septic systems be inspected and pumped out on a regular basis, at least every three to five years, as failure to maintain a septic system [...]

Septic Smart Week 2018-09-24T16:32:40+00:00

5 Lawn Care Habits for Health, Wealth & Improved Water Quality

By: Julie Farr, Urban Conservationist Now at the height of summer we are enjoying and spending more time in our yards than any other time of the year.  Many of us spend a lot of money trying to keep our yards looking pristine and weed free. Fertilizer and herbicides are often applied up to 6 times during the growing season.  Beyond the cost to your wallet and possible health issues for children & pets is the cost of traditional lawn care to the environment.  Changing lawn care habits can help improve the condition of our wallets and the environment. Habit [...]

5 Lawn Care Habits for Health, Wealth & Improved Water Quality 2018-08-07T12:39:35+00:00

Solving Streambank Erosion Problems in Urban Areas

As urban areas grow, homeowners along ditches and streams may find major changes in their yards over time.  What was once a small drainageway 20 years ago has deepened and widened into a ditch that flows most of the year.  Along streams, you may find that the stream has moved many feet and may now be threatening structures in your yard. What can be done?  In most areas of Indianapolis, it is the landowners’ responsibility to maintain drainageways as they cross through their property.  Depending on the size of the watershed, this may become a large financial investment. First, realize [...]

Solving Streambank Erosion Problems in Urban Areas 2018-07-20T10:55:17+00:00

Hugh Hammond Bennet: Pioneer of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

By Jerod Chew, Marion County District Conservationist, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service “Out of the long list of nature’s gifts to man, none is perhaps so utterly essential to human life as soil.”  Hugh Hammond Bennet We just recently celebrated 2018’s Earth Day and Stewardship Week, so what better way to honor these events than to start this post with a quote from the father of the modern Soil Conservation movement, Hugh Hammond Bennet! Bennet started and led the Soil Conservation Service, now the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and pioneered the concept of local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) [...]

Hugh Hammond Bennet: Pioneer of Soil and Water Conservation Districts 2018-06-05T10:57:55+00:00

Spring Soil Testing & Plant Analysis

  Spring is here and those who love gardening and those who tend small farms are anxious to get outside and start planting!  But to be the best stewards of our water quality and soil while providing optimal growing environments for our crops you may want to first consider evaluating the condition of your soil. Soil tests provide vital information about what is currently available for plant growth in your garden plot.  General soil tests provide basic information such as the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and the pH of the soil.  Soil tests will tell you which nutrients and [...]

Spring Soil Testing & Plant Analysis 2018-04-12T09:27:15+00:00

Flowers Aren’t the Only Thing Blooming From Your Fertilizer

Though the recent snowfall may indicate otherwise, spring weather is right around the corner. For many homeowners in Marion County that means yard work will soon begin. Everyone dreams of the immaculately manicured lawn, but how does your green lawn impact water quality? Fertilizers that are used on lawns, golf courses and in agriculture can have devastating impacts on water quality. What is happening? The most common fertilizers contain nitrogen and phosphorus, which both help plants grow, but the excess fertilizer from your lawn doesn’t always stay in place. When it rains, the runoff enters our waterways and the fertilizer [...]

Flowers Aren’t the Only Thing Blooming From Your Fertilizer 2018-03-27T15:52:14+00:00

Permaculture Template

Williams Creek Consulting and the Marion County SWCD came together to develop permaculture design templates for Indianapolis vacant lots.  The project was funded by the National Association of Conservation District's (NACD) Urban Agriculture Conservation Grants Program.  The template designs were created as conceptual designs for implementation by Community Development Corporations and as a resource for the City's land bank, local non-profits and neighborhood organizations in future permaculture applications on urban lots. Access the report here! NACD Permaculture Template Designs Report (pdf)  

Permaculture Template 2018-01-24T14:56:37+00:00

Library Program Lets You “Check-out” State Parks

In 2017, Hoosiers can check out state parks by checking out an entrance pass from a public library. The State Park Centennial Annual Pass Library Check-out Program is a partnership between Indiana State Parks and the Indiana State Library to encourage people to visit libraries and parks.  At libraries across Indiana, 240 state park passes have been placed in circulation for check-out. The passes will provide access to Indiana’s 32 state parks and also to Indiana’s state forest recreation areas where entrance fees are charged. Passes will be available for check-out from Jan. 1-Dec. 31. The program is one way Indiana [...]

Library Program Lets You “Check-out” State Parks 2018-01-24T14:12:18+00:00