LERW Watershed Project
The Lower Eel River watershed is primarily situated in Clay County and with acreage spanning into Owen, Greene, and Vigo counties. This 241,265 acre watershed is in its final installment of 319 grant-funded implementation, which will conclude in 2025. This 319 grant is the largest one yet, with a total value of $703,601.60 ($422,161 grant funding + $281,440.60 match/in-kind), including $270,561 obligated for cost-share funding.
Cost-Share funding is now available for practices such as cover crops, precision ag and no-till planter upgrades, bottomland/riparian tree plantings, buffer establishment, and more! Interested producers and landowners are encouraged to contact the Clay County Soil & Water Conservation District and/or the 319 Watershed Coordinator to check eligibility and fill out an application.
CLICK HERE for an interactive map of the LERW Watershed
Background of the LERW Watershed Project
As a result of impairments reported by IDEM in the late 90s and early 2000s, the Clay County SWCD pursued and received a 319 Planning grant for the Lower Eel River watershed in order to start the process of improving water quality in the region. With the help of local stakeholders and partners, a Watershed Management Plan was completed and approved in 2008. This WMP can be viewed HERE.
In 2016, the Clay County SWCD was awarded a 319 Implementation grant to facilitate cost-share funding for conservation practices to be installed in critical areas throughout the Lower Eel River watershed, as outlined in the Watershed Management Plan. From 2016 until early 2019, a Watershed Coordinator was hired and the LERW Advisory Committee was revived. In addition to the LERW Cost-Share Implementation program, many educational events were conducted in an effort to promote a variety of best management practices that could be utilized by land users in the area to improve water quality. Additional water monitoring data was gathered through Hoosier Riverwatch and another round of funding was pursued to continue the successful momentum. Total funding for this first installment of LERW 319 Implementation funding was $214,784 ($115,000 earmarked for cost-share funding) with $221,739.35 tabulated for match/in-kind contributions.
In 2018, the second round of LERW Implementation funding commenced, overlapping timelines with the first grant for several months. The Clay County SWCD, 319 Watershed Coordinator, and Advisory Committee continued strong efforts until the 319 grant concluded in the spring of 2019. LERW 319 Implementation II had a total value of $561,100 ($336,660 grant funding + $224,440 match/in-kind), though by the end of the grant, the match/in-kind goal had been exceeded by $55,923.95 and over $210,000 was utilized for cost-share funding. A final 319 grant application was submitted for implementation funding in the Lower Eel River watershed and was successfully awarded! The final installment of LERW 319 Implementation will begin in 2022.
To learn more about the LERW Watershed Project:
Clay County SWCD
551 E. US Hwy 40, Suite B. Brazil, IN 47834
(812) 446 8986 x 3
319 Watershed Coordinator
(812) 564-1162 cell