SJRBC Filter Strip Initiative Informational Meeting

January 5, 2014

The St. Joseph River Basin Commission will be holding a kick-off meeting introducing the SJRBC's Filter Strip Initative, an education and outreach campaign geared to inrease the St. Joseph River Basin Community's knowledge and participation in the Indiana Filter Strip Program.

In 1991, the Indiana General Assembly approved the Indiana Filter Strip Law. Codified as IC 6-1.1-6.7, the Law defines what qualifies as a filter strip, how it will be maintained, who will determine that it meets standards, how the classification will be recorded by Indiana counties, and suggested signage. Above all, through this Law land designated as a “classified filter strip” will be assessed property tax at a rate of $1.00 per acre, compared to a 2014 calculated average rate of $41.00 per acre. This Law can provide a significant financial incentive for farmers all across Indiana to plant filter strips on their property all while benefitting the environment.

However, multiple problems arise in the St. Joseph River Basin with regards to filter strips. Some farmers are not knowledgeable of filter strips. Others are aware, but are not convinced filter strips are a financially reasonable alternative. And many farmers and government officials within the St. Joseph River Basin are not aware of the Indiana Filter Strip Law or its benefits. This provides a crucial opportunity to educate a group of stakeholders that plays a key role in water quality within the basin.

Therefore, the St. Joseph River Basin Filter Strip Initiative will be an education and outreach program, led by the St. Joseph River Basin Commission and partnering agencies, focused on leveraging the benefits of the Indiana Filter Strip Law to promote the installation of filter strips on agricultural lands . The end result of this program is an increased awareness of the Indiana Filter Strip Law, leading to an increase in surface water vegetation buffers basin-wide.

The January 29th meeting is a kick-off meeting that will introduce the key cocepts and structure of this initiative and will begin gauging stakeholder interests and roles. If you are interested in getting involved in this initiative, would like to hear more about the proposed plan or are just interested in your local environment, then this meeting is for you! RSVP by email to jreiman@macog.com.

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