DNR awards grants for surface water project planning

MADISON — Communities throughout Wisconsin will soon reap the benefits of 222 grants awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources providing nearly $2.9 million in assistance for projects to improve water quality, reduce runoff, create aquatic habitat and reduce the spread of invasive species.

Surface water planning grants provide assistance for lake and river planning projects and aquatic invasive species (AIS) education, prevention and planning. This year, the grants will leverage an additional $1.4 million in matching funds by lake and river associations, local governments and nonprofit groups.

“Planning is a key component of lake protection and restoration, and the surface water grant program is here to assist local organizations in taking this crucial first step,” says Alison Mikulyuk, DNR lakes and rivers team leader.

Planning grants are intended to help communities collect data, assess waterbody condition and understand the source of any problems. This information then becomes the foundation of a lake management plan that details management priorities and future actions. Funding for this effort originates from a tax imposed on fuel used in recreational boats.

“There was a lot of interest this year in projects designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Several organizations will receive assistance for boots-on-the-ground efforts to inspect waterbodies, build partnerships and engage in education and outreach,” Mikulyuk said.

But AIS projects aren’t the only efforts receiving funding. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance intends to use their grant to finalize a comprehensive management plan for the four large waterbodies in the Winnebago system. These waterbodies serve nearly 2 million people living within 75 miles. The planning project will lay the groundwork to improve water quality, protect drinking water and safeguard the globally-important population of lake sturgeon.

The 2018 surface water planning grant applications were submitted to DNR in December. Clean Boats, Clean Waters projects, which fund staff to conduct boat and trailer inspections and educate boaters on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species at boat landings, accounted for the largest number of awards with 128 grants totaling more than $657,000. Aquatic invasive species education, prevention and planning efforts represented the greatest area of investment with 33 grants totaling more than $1.1 million.

Grant Type Grants Awarded Award Amount Local Match Amount
Lake Planning 47 839,503.46 516,372.14
AIS Education, Prevention, & Planning 33 1,131,489.24 486,844.25
River Planning 11 110,000.00 108,253.41
Lake Classification 3 144,514.10 48,375.54
Clean Boats, Clean Water 128 657,256.70 280,909.29
Total FY16 Planning Grants 222 2,882,763.50 1,441,754.63

To see the full
list of awards visit dnr.wi.gov and search “surface water grants.” Links
to awarded grants can be found on the right hand side of the Web page under
“Related links” on a desktop computer, or under the “Show more” dropdown on
mobile devices.