Contact(s): Carroll Schaal, DNR lakes and rivers section chief, Carroll.Schaal@wisconsin.gov, 608-261-6423; Patrick Goggin, UW-Extension lakes specialist/guidance author, email@example.com, 715-365-8943
MADISON -- There is still time for eligible sponsors to start planning a Healthy Lakes project before snow begins to cover the lakeshores and to submit grant applications to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to fund projects that encourage private sector innovation in caring for Wisconsin's lakes.
Funding is available to eligible sponsors for projects that improve fish habitat, integrate native plantings, divert and clean runoff water, and promote natural beauty. Eligible sponsors include lake groups, waterfront organizations and local governments like towns and counties. Grants are capped at $25,000 and each Healthy Lakes best practice is capped at $1,000 in state funding. Applicants apply on behalf of lakeshore property owners. Application materials and assistance can be found at www.healthylakeswi.com (exit DNR).
"Water quality and good habitat go hand in hand. Together we get greater recreational use and better, more sustainable, property values," said Carroll Schaal, DNR lakes and rivers section chief in the bureau of water quality. "The more property owners who implement one of the best practices, the greater the benefit for our lakes."
Best practices that will be considered for funding include:
This year, to assist those that want to pursue the native planting option, the program has compiled a 350 ft2 Native Planting Companion Guide. The guide provides step-by-step instructions for creating your own planting beds that, based on your property and interests, can achieve several benefits.
"Depending on what you want your native planting to do--from restoring an area of bare ground to providing bird and butterfly habitat--you can choose the appropriate planting diagram and order plants from a list of native species that will not only improve the health of the lake, but also beautify your property," said Patrick Goggin, UW-Extension Lakes Specialist and author of the guide.
The Healthy Lakes funding is not intended for large, complex sites with substantial runoff or erosion problems where engineering design is more appropriate. Before undertaking any major projects, lake associations and homeowners are encouraged to consult local zoning ordinances. The Healthy Lakes initiative is an effort of the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership supported by DNR, the UW-Extension Lakes Program, Wisconsin Lakes, counties and the many lake groups and citizens who work to protect, improve and restore Wisconsin lakes.