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Conservation program awarded funding

A homeowner and Mike Yrjo, engineering technician, survey sediment deposited in Blackwell Lake by an active gully. (Contributed photo)1 / 2
An actively eroding gully drains into Lake Geneva. (Contributed photo)2 / 2

Neighbors are joining forces to protect Douglas County lakes with runoff reducing and erosion eliminating projects.

Through a new Community Partners for Water Quality grant program, lake associations, faith groups and other organizations will help their members develop, plan and install water quality protection projects.

Utilizing $55,000 in Legacy Amendment funding and more than $14,000 in local contributions, the Douglas County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will develop and administer this new grant program.

Several efforts are already in development:

• Lake Carlos area residents will be invited to observe and assist with the installation of rain gardens at Luther Crest under the guidance of the Lake Carlos Association.

• Chippewa Lake Association members will fix an eroding gully and stabilize shorelines.

• Lake Ida residents will continue reducing and purifying runoff through their effective "One Ditch at a Time" program directed by the Lake Ida Association.

Working together, these groups will fix pollution problems that deposit more than 20 tons of sediment in area lakes every year.

Other contributors include individual homeowners, lake associations, Douglas County and the Douglas SWCD.

People with ideas for reducing pollution and improving Douglas County lakes should contact Steve Henry at the Douglas SWCD at (320) 763-3191, extension 3.