As Indiana’s soil and water conservation district members head back home from their annual conference which concluded on Wednesday, they have a lot to think about. The State Soil Board has proposed a reorganization plan that calls for districts to start working together and perhaps even merging. State Soil Board chairman Larry Clemens says, so far, reaction to the plan has been tentatively positive, “They realize the funding challenges we face and the need to find new sources of funds and to do things differently than we have in the past; but, when you get down to the details on what the new structure would actually look like, that is when the animosity set in.” The plan was first rolled out last August after several months of development work and study by a special task force. A series of regional meetings has been held the past few months to get local reaction to the plan. The proposal calls for three different scenarios to be phased in over time.
The plan calls for local SWCDs to begin to think regionally, and, perhaps in some cases, even merge. Clemens says that when districts start to think this way all kinds of new doors open, “New funding sources become available because, when you pull several districts together, they are beginning to work on a scale that matches the interests of some potential funders.”
The plan calls for implementation by 2016. Clemens told HAT they hope to start making changes in the next few months, “We will work with the IASWCD to begin to put together some details and perhaps even develop some pilot projects.” A copy of the recommendation can be found at https://www.in.gov/isda/2361.htm.
[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2013/01/IASWCD-wrap.mp3|titles=Reorganization Plan for Conservation Districts Moving Ahead ]