More than a dozen communities and organizations have already received nearly $1 million in state grants for protecting lake habitat and improving water quality and more communities now will have the chance to receive grant money in 2013 for such projects.

The Department of Natural Resources is extending the deadline for 2013 applications for Lake Protection Grants through the end of the year, state lake officials say.

“We were able to fund every eligible application that came in by our original May 1 deadline and are excited about the projects that will benefit Big Green Lake and waters in the St. Croix and Red Cedar watersheds, along with waters in more than a dozen other counties,” says Carroll Schaal, who leads DNR’s lakes team.

“We’re also pleased to extend the application deadline through the end of 2013. We have a remaining balance of $900,000 and we think there are more good projects out there that deserve funding and can benefit lakes, people and local economies.”

The DNR provides up to 75 percent of the cost of the project; the recipient provides at least 25 percent. Since Lake Protection Grants were first initiated in the 1990s, DNR has awarded 425 grants totaling $32.5 million that have directly benefitted over 180 lake communities, many with multiple grants. In addition, around 125 grants have been awarded to counties and towns for regional multiple lake protection efforts implemented through land and water conservation, forestry or zoning departments.

Projects funded this year include two land acquisitions that will be used to protect Beaver Dam Lake in Barron County and Deer Lake in Polk County from polluted runoff. Big Green Lake, the deepest natural lake in Wisconsin at 236 feet, will receive $200,000 toward a nearly $600,000 effort to control sediment and nutrient runoff from agricultural lands that can cause excessive algae and plant growth in the lake.

“Big Green is going to be a water to watch in the future as this is just the first step of implementing a recently adopted comprehensive management plan for this resource of statewide significance. There is a great partnership between the Green Lake Association, Green Lake Sanitary District, Green Lake County, and the DNR,” says Schaal.

DNR will continue to accept new applications for lake protection projects through Dec. 31, 2013, or until the funds are exhausted. Grants will be awarded as soon as the application is determined to be complete and the project eligible, Schaal says. “If we still have funds after December we will apply them forward the next grant deadline in 2014,” he said.

Information about the lake grants and how to apply can be found on the Lake Classification and Lake Protection Grant pages of the DNR website.

 

 
 

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