Indiana American Grant Awarded for Environmental Improvement in Charlestown
Charlestown, IN – The Clark County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in partnership with the Clark County Harmful Invasives Removal Project (CCHIRP), the City of Charlestown Board of Public Works, Mayor Treva Hodges, and the Indiana Invasives Initiative (III), recently submitted an application to Indiana American Water Company for a 2021 Environmental Grant. The SWCD is pleased to report that their application was one of four in the state to receive funding. The $3,000 awarded will fund the partners’ Callery Pear Removal and Invasive Education Project.
The Callery Pear, with its trademark white, showy flowers in the spring, is indeed a beautiful tree, long touted as a landscape tree since it was brought to the United States from Asia. However, it spreads rapidly, and grows quickly, thereby out-competing native plants for resources. In doing so, it destroys native habitat that wildlife depends on for survival.
Residents of Charlestown may recognize the Callery Pear as the tree lining the median of Highway 3 in Charlestown. These trees were planted many years ago, and have matured to the point that they are exhibiting the weak wood and branch structure characteristic of the species; limbs have broken off, and splits in the trees are occurring. In addition, evidence of spread of the species has been noted in vacant lots, and lesser maintained areas in the City.
The City of Charlestown Board of Public Works, and Mayor Treva Hodges, are concerned about the invasive nature of these trees, as well as the dangers and maintenance associated with them as they age. As a result, they partnered with the SWCD, CCHIRP, and III, to form a plan for the safe removal of the trees, and provide educational opportunities for Charlestown residents throughout the process. During the grant term, residents will have the opportunity to attend invasive plant and native plant ID workshops, assist with planting and maintaining native plants throughout the City, and gain assistance with identifying invasives on their own property.
“The City of Charlestown is grateful for this partnership with the Clark County Soil and Water Conservation District and to Indiana American Water for their dedication to our Hoosier communities,” said Charlestown Mayor Treva Hodges. “Conservation of our natural resources is an important priority for our city and the removal of invasive species plays a significant role in fostering the growth of our regional plants and trees. There’s much beauty to be found in Southern Indiana and I’m happy that our city can do its part to protect our landscapes.”
Established in 2005, Indiana American Water Company’s annual Environmental Grant Program offers funding for innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore, or protect the watersheds, surface water and groundwater supplies in our local communities. Indiana America’s commitment to protecting the environment runs deep, and they are proud to support the efforts of local organizations that share their vision. All grant recipients will submit a report at the end of the year to American Water regarding how their grant was used to achieve their specific environmental goals.
Indiana American Water’s Southern Indiana District has more than 31,000 customer connections. The Southern Indiana Operations also provides water to a number of communities including Floyds Knobs, Georgetown, Edwardsville, and recently Charlestown, through wholesale contracts.