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Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape to Lead New Regional Conservation Partnership Program


Bloomington, IN, November 1, 2023 - The Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape (SISL) partnership is excited to announce approval of a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project for the 3.5-million-acre SISL area. RCPP is a partner-driven approach to conservation that funds solutions to natural resource challenges. The Natural Resources Conservation Service within the US Department of Agriculture is the agency who leads the overarching program nationally and within Indiana.


This RCPP will increase private lands conservation on farms and forests in southern Indiana. Through support of the partnership over the next five years, NRCS will provide funding to permanently protect and restore over 2,500 acres of forestland through conservation easements, restore an additional 5,000 to 10,000 acres of oak-hickory forest ecosystems, and increase sustainable farming practices on tens of thousands of acres.


“Since nearly 90% of the land in SISL is owned and managed by private landowners, it is critical to our rural way of life, including our rich agricultural and natural heritage, that these landowners have the support and resources needed to sustainably manage their lands. Furthermore, having a landscape dominated by rural uses supports the critical missions of our four military installations and ranges.” Michael Spalding SISL Program Coordinator


Since designation in February 2022, the SISL partnership has been working on ways to advance the pace and scale of conservation in southern Indiana. This RCPP will achieve many of those goals. The diverse partnership of this project includes NSA Crane, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training Center, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative, American Bird Conservancy, Let the Sunshine IN, Indiana Forestry and Woodland Owners Association, Indiana DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, Central Indiana Land Trust, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Division of Soil Conservation.


Landowners interested in learning more about conservation on their farms and forests should reach out to SISL Program Coordinator Michael Spalding at mspalding@sentinellandscapes.org or 812-855-1898.


Background:


The Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape (SISL) is a collaboration of diverse partners who are advancing the pace and scale of conservation throughout a three and a half million-acre swath of south-central Indiana to protect military missions on four critical installations and ranges.


Founded in 2013 by the U.S. Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Interior, the mission of the federal partnership is to strengthen military readiness, conserve natural resources, prepare for drought and flood, and bolster agricultural and forestry economies. In February 2022, the federal government designated SISL, at the time one of only ten such areas in the country, recognizing the significance of southern Indiana’s four military installations and the area’s rich natural and agricultural heritage.


The SISL partnership, coordinated by the Conservation Law Center (CLC) at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, includes federal agencies, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations who work with private and public landowners to advance sustainable land management practices for natural resource, agricultural, and military interests.


Media contact:

SISL Program Coordinator Michael Spalding

office: 812-855-1898



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