KOSCIUSKO — Kosciusko Leadership Academy (KLA) met at the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation (WACF) to learn about Aquatic Ecology in Kosciusko County.
Nathan Bosch, Ph.D., Director of Center for Lakes and Streams, explained the far-reaching effect of the lakes. The Center for Lakes and Streams offers educational opportunities for schools through aquatic petting zoos, classroom aquariums, Lake Adventure Days, and the Lakes and Streams Art Contest for area students. The Lakes Festival provides an opportunity for Kosciusko County residents and visitors to learn about the lakes and experience the lakes through interaction. In addition to education, the Center for Lakes and Streams conducts important research on lake conditions, including studies on blue algae and E-Coli.
The lakes are a valuable resource for Kosciusko County, requiring preservation and protection. Dr. Bosch referenced a recent economic impact study done by the center, which estimated that our local lakes contribute approximately $313 million annually to the local economy. He stated that if we improved the quality of our lakes even more, the potential existed for an additional impact of $10.5 million. Our area lakes and streams also provide impact in other ways. The Tippecanoe River is nationally ranked as one of the top ten most valuable rivers in biodiversity according to conservancy agencies.
Partnering with several local agencies, the Center for Lakes and Streams has assisted with a productive effort to clear logjams from the Tippecanoe River. According to Dr. Bosch, this will help reduce erosion and flooding, alleviate stress on local fish and wildlife, and open up the river for more recreational opportunities.
Heather Harwood, Executive Director of the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, spoke to the KLA cadets about WACF’s role in protecting the watershed’s 820 plus acres. This year, the WACF celebrates its 25th year in existence, which has been accomplished solely through donor funding. Partnering with other organizations and administering grant funds received, the WACF strives to preserve, protect, and enhance the watershed now and for future generations. The WACF also offers numerous activities and educational activities to engage the community in preservation efforts.
The next KLA session will be held at the Otis R. Bowen Center Annex on Sept. 27, where cadets will learn to understand their personality preferences and leadership styles.
KLA is a not for profit organization devoted to serving Kosciusko County by encouraging leaders and future leaders to dream and create a better community through white paper projects.
For additional information contact Jason Zaugg, KLA Public Relations, (574) 453-7227 or email [email protected]