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Soil and water conservation districts are celebrating the success of an invasive species project.

For the past three years, districts around the area have worked together to address the threat of invasive species, such as Honey Suckle, Autumn Olive, or new invaders like Japenese Stiltgrass.

The 2018-2020 invasive species project was a collaboration between the Daviess, Dubois, and Martin SWCDs.

The project established an Invasive Species Specialist position that increased invasive species education and outreach in the three counties and supported landowners managing invasive plants through technical assistance and cost-share. The position was first held by Megan Ritterskamp in 2018, and then by Emily Finch in 2019 and 2020.

One of the project’s first main successes was establishing the new Daviess-Martin Cooperative Invasive Management Area, or CISMA. The project supported 71 events, directly attended by 1,816 people, and estimated to have reached over 13,000 people with educational booths and public venues.

In 2020, these efforts adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, by holding several online events and recorded videos.

One of the biggest impacts of this project is the assistance that it provided to landowners. 93 landowners who manage over 7,000 acres in the three counties, received technical assistance through the program. 58 of these landowners received site visits, and 44 received customized invasive species management plans.

The project was made possible with funding by a Clean Water Indiana Grant from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s State Soil Conservation Board.

Although 2020 marks the end of the project, the SWCDs are excited to continue their partnership into 2021. A new 2021-2023 Clean Water Indiana Grant has been awarded to support the Invasive Species Specialist position.

For more information, or to schedule a free visit to assess the invasive species on your property, contact Emily Finch at Emily.Finch@in.nacdnet.net or (812)-482-1171 extension 3.

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