NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 2,373 days

See This Full Issue

All Previous Archived Issues


Contact(s): Shelly Thomson, DNR lakes and rivers team leader,, 608- 266-0502; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications,, 608-770-8084
February 9, 2016

MADISON - More than 200 local governments, lake and river associations and nonprofit groups in 57 Wisconsin counties will receive grants totaling more than $2.6 million for projects to improve water quality and aquatic habitat.

The Department of Natural Resources surface water planning grants support lake and river project planning and aquatic invasive species education, prevention and planning. This year, the grants will leverage an additional $1.3 million in matching expenditures by lake and river associations, local governments and nonprofit groups.

Shelly Thomsen, DNR lakes and rivers team leader, said the projects help communities understand the condition of aquatic ecosystems and watersheds, conduct studies and develop management plans. Grant funds originate from a tax on fuel used by boats in Wisconsin.

"This year, we're seeing more lake and river groups undertake projects to involve their broader communities in the search for solutions," Thomsen said. "The groups are finding that while studying the biology and chemistry of a watershed identifies the problems, the solutions require the backing and support of the community. Restoration projects with broad community involvement are happening on the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir and Lake Wausau in Marathon County and in Sawyer, Ashland and Bayfield Counties to protect pristine Northwoods waters."

The 2016 surface water planning grants were submitted to DNR in December. Clean Boats, Clean Waters projects accounted for the largest number of awards with 108 grants totaling $602,959.12. Aquatic invasive species education, prevention and planning efforts represented the greatest area of investment with 30 grants totaling some $1.2 million.

Grant Type

# Grants Awarded


Local Match

Lake Planning




AIS Education, Prevention, & Planning




River Planning




Lake Classification




Clean Boats, Clean Water




Total FY16 Planning Grants




Thomsen said two significant projects in the southwest Driftless Area of Wisconsin will be led by farmers and will encourage landowners to work together to improve water quality in the Kickapoo River and Lowery Creek in Iowa County, home to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin. The Kickapoo River project is backed by $5.3 million in federal funding for best management practices through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative.

To see the full list of awards search the DNR website,, for "surface water grants." Links to specific grants can be found on the right hand side of the Web page.

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Need an expert?

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.