Grant to improve soil conservation practices in state

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — A $500,000 grant is expected to increase the number of soil conservation practices in Indiana and improve water quality in watersheds across the state.

The Indiana Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program announced the grant Monday.

The funding was provided from a legal settlement that was stewarded in part by the Indiana Wildlife Federation, according to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

The program seeks to improve water quality by creating buffers and wetlands aimed at reducing pollution from sediment, nutrient, pesticide and herbicide losses from agricultural runoff into watersheds near the Wabash and White Rivers.

Participants in the program remove cropland from agricultural production and convert the land to native grasses, trees and other vegetation. Those remain in place for at least 14 years.

The funding comes from American Electric Power under a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states and 13 citizens groups, Indiana's Agriculture department said.

The settlement included an agreement by American Electric Power to invest $3.5 million to improve air quality and to reduce pollution in Indiana through various projects.

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