The Delaware County SWCD facilitates projects that address soil and water concerns in our community and throughout East Central Indiana.
2019 Conservation Cost Share Totals: Producers in Delaware and surrounding counties have taken advantage of various cost-share programs, planting 3,956 acres to conservation practices netting estimated sediment reduction of 4,271 tons, phosphorus reduction of 5,719 pounds, and nitrogen reduction of 11,439 pounds. The reduction amounts are actually larger because many producers adopt practices on their own volition and do not report out to government agencies.
We administer the First Steps in Conservation Planning program, a FREE service that gives property owners the information they need to begin the cost-share process. Click here to learn more.
Support for On-farm Research
We have completed numerous ecological enhancement projects ranging from design engineering studies, and construction projects.
Habitat Enhancement and Creation
John M Craddock Wetlands
Prairie Creek Reservoir Lakescaping
MOM's Rain Garden
Wilderness Park Prairie
Bonham Wetland Planting
Invasive species removal
Wilderness Park Forest and Prairie Invasive Species Removal Cost-share
Habitat Preservation: Acquisition and Easements
The Delaware County SWCD helps coordinate land acquisition projects throughout East Central Indiana. We do this by networking landowners with organizations and groups that either fund or acquire land (for both conservation and long-term enhancement efforts).
SWCD projects like the John Craddock Wetland Nature Preserve have helped initiate the transfer of private lands into the public trust and our various state-funded trail projects have resulted in more restrictive easements (recreational).
Many of our cost-share Best Management Practices come with maintenance agreements or multi-year restrictions. These types of voluntary property management practices result in long-term commitments and positive stewardship outcomes.
Streams and Waterway Projects
We have completed numerous streams and waterway enhancement projects ranging from design engineering studies, construction projects, logjam and debris removal, and community-based clean-ups.
MUNCIE DAM REMOVAL
The dam at east Jackson Street, also known as the Indiana Steel & Wire Dam was demolished and removed Aug. 19 through Aug. 21. Removal of the George R. Dale Dam, also known as the McCulloch Dam, began on Aug. 26. The next step is to create a "fish ladder" at the West Fork Dam, also known as the Muncie Waste Water Facility Interceptor Dam.
A fish ladder creates shorter "steps" and pools of water at a dam, to make fish migration up stream easier. Removal of the dams will allow the White River to revert to its natural channel and flow. This will aid fish migration, improve the water for aquatic life, and allow additional recreational activities on the river.
Another part of this project is to post signage along the river for safety and informational purposes for water sport enthusiasts. Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District is pleased to be a partner on this project with the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation, Community Enhancement Projects Inc., Indiana Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Muncie Sanitary District Bureau of Water Quality.
BUCK CREEK EROSION STUDY
Often overlooked, stream bank erosion is a significant contributor of sediment in our nation 's waterways. According to the EPA Region 5 model for Estimating Load Reductions for Agricultural and Urban BMPs, an eroded 500 foot section of bank that is 10 feet high, with silt loam soils, would contribute over 4500 tons of sediment for every three inches of erosion. A recent study in a neighboring White River Subwatershed, Buck Creek, found stream banks contributing more tons per acre than sheet runoff. For the Lower Buck Creek drainage area it was estimated that on an annual basis, a total of 5,000 tons of sediment enter the river network from stream banks (with 20% of the sediment coming from only 867' of the total 20,000'). This is compared to 1,951 tons of sediment that enter the river system from sheet runoff in the same drainage basin. The amount of acres containing stream banks in the Buck Creek study reach is 4.59 acres compared to the 4,990 acres of land generating sheet runoff. Sediment contribution from channel modification and stream bank erosion can be easily identifiable using BEHI and NBS analysis. On Buck Creek streams, a loss of vegetation often was tied to an increase of erosion.
Ponds and Reservoirs
We have completed numerous pond and reservoir enhancements through design engineering studies, and construction projects.
Prairie Creek Reservoir
In 2011, Prairie Creek Reservoir was presented the Exceptional Commitment to Conservation Award by the Upper White River Watershed Alliance Stewardship Awards Program. This Award recognizes a specific environmental project that has demonstrated significant leadership in a focused area of resource conservation (water, materials and/or energy, land, etc.).
Planning for Prairie Creek Reservoir began in 2000 with the White River Watershed Project Prairie Creek Sub-Watershed Management Plan and continued in 2007 with the development of the Prairie Creek Master Plan, a Muncie-Delaware County Comprehensive Plan implementation measure funded by the WRWP. These plans outlined the locations for resource conservation at the Reservoir and made recommendations for sustainable development, ultimately leading to a rezoning adopted by the Delaware County Commissioners in 2008.
Water quality improvement projects, implemented by the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District, through its IDEM section 319 cost- share program, include swales/rain gardens, bank erosion repairs, critical area plantings, and subsurface infiltration trenches. These improvements have created and enhanced recreational uses for Prairie Creek Reservoir, improved water quality, reduced maintenance costs, and eliminated significant sources of erosion. These accomplishments have helped to spark further planning and development.
The Award is continuing recognition that the City of Muncie and Delaware County are at the forefront of green infrastructural improvements.
Recreation and Quality of Life Projects
We have completed numerous quality of life projects in conjunction with state and federal funding sources and local partners.
Recreational Trails Program:
In 2012, The Prairie Creek Trails Project/City of Muncie and Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District received a major RTP (Recreational Trails Program) grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
This initial $150,000 grant (along with subsequent grants from local sources) enabled the City of Muncie to develop 2 miles of crushed limestone trail (of 12’ width) for bike/pedestrian traffic at Priaire Creek Reservoir. Added improvements in conjunction with the project will include a trailhead and boardwalks as well as mountain bike and expanded horse trails.
Additional funding for the trail construction has been leveraged through grants and in-kind donations from the George and Frances Ball and the Ball Brothers foundations, and Ball State University (through the Department of Landscape Architecture design-build program).
While initial developments will be localized on the southern portion of the reservoir, future development will connect major recreational amenities along the eastern shore, increasing connectivity as well as advancing the conservation and recreation zone recently placed around the reservoir.
Our partners at Mid-Indiana Trails have built and maintain an incredible network of mountain bike trails on the southeast side of Prairie Creek Reservoir over the past several years.