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The Scoop

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Verbatim: Little River Wetlands gets $1.4 million

Statement issued Friday:

Little River Wetlands Project, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy of Indiana and Loblolly Marsh, has won a Mississippi River Basin Initiative award bringing $1.4 million to assist wetlands development in the Little River valley, LRWP’s project area stretching from Fort Wayne to Huntington.

All three participating organizations will put in some of their own money as matching funds to ensure that 700 additional acres in the Upper Wabash River watershed become eligible for inclusion in the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wetlands Reserve Program over the next four years. This program pays willing landowners to place wet agricultural land under conservation easements and then restores the land back to wetlands to be protected in perpetuity.

“With this award, LRWP will help NRCS put 350 more acres of Little River valley farmland than would have been eligible otherwise into the Wetlands Reserve Program,” says Betsy Yankowiak, LRWP’s executive director. She adds that many more farmers apply to place land in the WRP than there is funding available. “We will work closely with landowners in the valley to help them connect with Sherm Liechty and Tim Bomba, District Conservationists for the Wetlands Reserve Program in this area,” says Yankowiak. “We know many farmers who are interested and we hope to have at least 50 acres enrolled this year.”

LRWP’s mission is to facilitate wetlands restoration and preservation in the Little River valley. The group currently has 1,100 natural acres under protection, including 705-acre Eagle Marsh, 255 acres at the Arrowhead preserves, and a conservation easement on 140 acres of private land. Wetlands enhance flood control, cleanse groundwater, and provide wildlife habitat as well as offering opportunities for nature recreation and education.

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