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The Martin, Daviess, and Orange County Soil and Water Conservation Districts have announced the beginning of a new grant project. The Tri-County Invasive Species Specialist Project is a collaborative effort between the three counties, with support from a Clean Water Indiana grant from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

Invasives such as Honeysuckle, Autumn Olive, Poison Hemlock, and Emerald Ash Borer are a significant resource concern in Indiana. They impact agricultural and non-agricultural lands, degrade wildlife habitat, displace native plants, and even disrupt soil and water microbiomes. Large economic impacts from uncontrolled invasive populations can lead to decreased land production, and control can be costly and complicated. The project will address this with a full-time Invasive Species Specialist to conduct invasive species education and outreach in the area and provide direct technical assistance for landowners.

For Martin and Daviess counties, this project will continue and build upon two previous grants with the Dubois SWCD from 2018-2023. For the Orange SWCD, this offers a new opportunity to expand invasive species education at local events and provide increased technical assistance for landowners.

While the project does not currently offer financial assistance to control invasives, the Specialist can provide one-on-one support in identifying plants, drafting control recommendations, and helping landowners prioritize invasive management on their property. The SWCDs can also refer landowners to funding programs from partner agencies and hope to secure additional grants to increase invasive control cost-share options as the project progresses.

To request a free invasive species site visit for your property, or for invasive ID and management questions, contact Finch at Emily.Finch@in.nacdnet.net, or 812-329-0048. Her main office is at the Martin SWCD, located at 404 JFK Ave in Loogootee, but she is available to help landowners anywhere in Martin, Daviess, and Orange counties. Since invasive species education and outreach is another major component of the project, you can also contact Finch for invasive species presentations and events, or to volunteer.

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