The Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation is offering grants of up to $2,000 to homeowners for shoreline projects that improve water quality, improve shoreline habitat, reduce erosion, or reduce runoff.
TWF plans to award 15 to 20 grants through the Healthy Shorelines Initiative in 2013-2014 to eligible projects such as stone re-facing of concrete seawalls, lake-friendly landscaping, new stone seawalls, and bioengineered seawalls. Free educational shoreline workshops are also being offered.
TWF has launched this program in order to improve the health of shorelines and lakes throughout the Upper Tippecanoe River watershed. This year’s grants are funded by a grant awarded to TWF by the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership. In 2010, the EPA released a report on the National Lakes Assessment, which showed that 44 percent of the nation’s lakes are in poor biological condition, with poor lakeshore habitat being the biggest problem.
Lyn Crighton, executive director of the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation explained, “It is normal on most of our lakes to see a mowed lawn up to the edge of a concrete seawall. What we want to encourage are more natural solutions to shoreline stabilization. Healthy shorelines (and adjacent lawns) have an abundance of native plants both on the land and in the water.”
Native plants work to filter pollutants from runoff, deter nuisance wildlife such as mute swans and canada geese, stabilize the shoreline, and slow wave action. Lakes with healthy native plant populations spend much less money on invasive weed treatment, have fewer problems with nuisance wildlife, and generally have clearer water. Glacial stone (or rock) seawalls are an improvement over concrete because they provide stabilization to the shoreline while minimizing wave action. They also will deter muskrat destruction.
Homeowners often worry that a natural shoreline will look messy, but with proper planning a natural shoreline can be an incredibly beautiful low-maintenance landscape feature without interfering with recreation.
The TWF Healthy Shoreline Initiative grants will help homeowners create healthy shorelines in the Upper Tippecanoe River watershed. The application deadline is Oct. 1. All projects must be located within the Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed and the applicant must pay at least 25 percent of the total project cost.
Example areas eligible for healthy shoreline initiative funding: Backwater Lake, Kosciusko County; Barbee Chain of Lakes, Kosciusko County; Ridinger Lake (Kosciusko County); Shoe Lake (Kosciusko County); Stanton Lake (Kosciusko County); Lake Tippecanoe (Kosciusko County); Webster (Kosciusko County); Town of North Webster (Kosciusko County).
Anyone with an interest in healthy lakes, lawns, and water quality is invited to attend a free workshop from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the North Webster Community Center party room. Nathan Thomas from the IDNR Division of Fish and Wildlife will present information, provide photos, and bring hands-on examples to explain what healthy shorelines are, how they benefit our lakes, what they entail, how much they cost, and how to maintain them. Mr. Thomas will discuss glacial stone seawalls, bioengineered seawalls, lake-friendly landscaping (including shoreline buffers), and the placement of glacial stone in front of current concrete seawalls.