KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — New grants for the care of Indiana’s water bodies totaling $1,296,000 have been awarded through the Lake and River Enhancement program in the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. Kosciusko County agencies received four of the 33 project grants.
Grants and dollar amounts were received for:
- Dam removal on the Tippecanoe River in the county, totaling $40,000
- Design for channel erosion control in Turkey Creek, totaling $20,000
- Watershed land treatment in the upper Tippecanoe River, in the amount of $45,000
- Bank stabilization on Kline Island on Webster Lake, totaling $41,000
The grants, awarded by DNR director Cameron lark, fund 33 projects in 25 counties, encompassing watersheds of 36 lakes and streams.
According to the DNR, the removal of the dam at Tippecanoe River is one of two projects to remove obsolete low-head dams, that serve no current purpose. The removal will improve stream habitat and allow fish and other aquatic animals to reconnect to upstream areas. Removing dames also eliminates recreational hazards. The other low-head dame to be removed will be on Little River in Huntington County.
Local sponsors submit applications for LARE assistance and commit to sharing a portion of the total cost. DNR’s share comes from a fee paid annually by boat owners when registering their boats with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
The new grants include several projects to control erosion and enhance aquatic habitat on rivers and lakes. Thirteen grants for watershed land treatment were awarded to specific county soil and water conservation districts to complete their efforts with local landowners to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrient runoff. Preventing these pollutants from entering water is more economical and effective than trying to remove them from lakes and streams.
Several projects target watersheds that have received recent national attention. Installing measures to reduce phosphorous on Indiana lands will help to reduce the amount of phosphorus that enters the western Lake Erie basin and Lake Michigan. In 2014, Toledo, Ohio, residents experienced water shortages due to toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie caused in part by phosphorous from Indiana and Ohio. Other projects in the Wabash River and Ohio River drainage are in areas that have been highlighted as important watersheds to reduce Gulf Hypoxia (the Gulf of Mexico dead zone).
Other projects include creating habitat elements such as riffles and pools, stream meanders, and wetlands that will provide shelter for fish and other aquatic organisms. Such enhancements encourage biological diversity in the streams and more opportunities for game fish, mussels, amphibians, turtles and other aquatic organisms to thrive.
Some of the projects will use bio-engineering techniques to address bank erosion on rivers and lakes. These techniques use glacial stone, native plantings and fiber mats instead of concrete or riprap.
“We are pleased to partner with sponsoring organizations to improve aquatic habitat, reduce erosion and sedimentation, and create improved recreational opportunities for boating and fishing,” said Mark Reiter, director of DNR Fish & Wildlife. “This is a win-win for the citizens of Indiana and is funded largely by those who enjoy water resources through their annual boat registrations.”