by Claire Lane
Do you dream of turning your backyard into a wildlife paradise? Do you have soggy or eroding areas throughout your yard? Are invasive plants overtaking your tree line? Do you live near a pond with erosion and algae problems? If these issues seem overwhelming and you aren’t sure where to start, don’t fear – help is here! The Backyard Conservation Program, offered through the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), offers free educational and technical assistance on a variety of urban conservation practices. These practices bring beauty, diversity, and interest to your property as well as promote the ecological health of the entire Carmel community.
The Backyard Conservation Program (BYC) offers technical assistance to all Hamilton County property owners and managers (including HOAs). Through implementation of urban conservation practices, we can all take steps to protect and restore our resources, improve water quality, and make our urban community more sustainable. Whether you have a specific vision for your property or just want to see what conservation practices could be possible, BYC can provide you with a detailed and personalized ‘how to’ conservation plan, species planting recommendations, and vendor and contractor information. Some even offer discounts to BYC participants! BYC also serves as your local urban conservation educational resource through community events, speaking at organization and HOA meetings, and working with children and school groups.
In addition to free technical assistance, all Hamilton County property owners are eligible for cost-share assistance through the SWCD for implementing management solutions such as creating wildlife habitats, stormwater practices, and invasive species removal. The program offers 50% reimbursable funding with a 50% match (in-kind and/or cash) required (max $500). Deadlines for application are coming up in August and then again in April. Learn more about program offerings, cost share, and conservation practices on the BYC website, www.hamiltonswcd.org/BYC, or call 317-773-2181.