Sports and Outdoors

Thursday, March 26, 2009

DNR awards funds to treat lakes

Indiana DNR Release:

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has awarded funding totaling $1.33 million to 36 projects to protect and restore Indiana lakes in 15 counties.

The funds come from the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program in the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife and will be used on 46 different lakes around the state.

"This is one state program that returns money to taxpayers on a local level, where they can see their money at work and reap the direct benefits," said Robert E. Carter Jr., director of the DNR . "Governor Daniels expects all agencies to use taxpayer funds wisely and LARE-funded projects serve as an investment with associated ecological, recreational, and economic benefits from protecting one of Indiana’s most valuable assets—our lakes and rivers."

Funding comes from the LARE fee paid by boat owners based on the value of each boat, with one-third of the money slated for use by the DNR for lake projects that remove sediment or control exotic or invasive plants or animals. The remainder is split between traditional LARE projects that seek to reduce sediment and nutrient inputs to waterbodies and the DNR's Division of Law Enforcement for boating-related programs.

"This year's awards provide needed funds to address the continuing threat of invasive plant species to Indiana lakes. Reducing the spread of certain aquatic invasive species can prevent devastating ecological and economic consequences on the lakes," said Jim Ray, chief of the DNR’s LARE program.

In 2009, the program received applications for invasive plant management projects totaling more than $2 million and was able to provide $568,040 in grants to survey and treat exotic invasive plants in 40 lakes. In addition, the LARE program will cover up to $425,000 for the third year of whole-lake fluridone treatments to eradicate hydrilla in Lake Manitou. No funding could be awarded for 45 lakes that requested a state grant. For the second year in a row, no new plans were funded in order to complete treatment cycles for lakes already in the program.

Ray noted that highest priorities for LARE included eradication of new exotic species introductions of hydrilla in Lake Manitou in Fulton County, Brazilian elodea in Griffy Lake in Monroe County, and parrot feather (a type of milfoil) in Meserve Lake in Steuben County. Also funded was follow-up control of other invasive species in those lakes; follow-up control for lakes previously funded for whole-lake fluridone treatments and one new fluridone treatment; and maintenance treatments in lakes with new 2008-12 management plans and other lakes that have received past funding in two years or fewer.

The other type of grant, for sediment removal, provides positive recreational and economic benefits to both users and residents of the affected lakes. A total of $339,989 will be distributed in three counties to six sediment removal projects involving nine Indiana lakes. These projects are extremely expensive to complete without state assistance to local entities.

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