INDIANAPOLIS — Organizations in Kosciusko County have received more than $315,000 in grants to fight aquatic invasive plants and improve waterways. The funds were recently awarded by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director Cameron F. Clark through the Lake and River Enhancement program.
Invasive aquatic vegetation management grants were awarded to the Barbee Lakes chain, Beaver Dam Lake, Center Lake, Chapman Lakes, Dewart Lake, Pike Lake, Tippecanoe Lake chain, Webster Lake, Wawasee and Syracuse lakes. A sediment removal project at Lake Wawasee received a grant for that project.
The DNR awarded grants for 42 projects in 62 lakes and one river in 15 counties totaling $632,880 for aquatic invasive plant management.
Locally, the following amounts were received:
Barbee Lakes chain (Kuhn, Barbee, Little Barbee, Irish, Sawmill, Banning and Sechrist lakes) received $6,900.
Beaver Dam Lake received $2,000.
Center Lake received $14,500.
Chapman Lakes (Big Chapman and Little Chapman) received $39,600.
Dewart Lake received $10,400.
Pike Lake received $3,700.
Tippecanoe Lake chain (Tippecanoe, James and Oswego lakes) received $41,400.
Webster Lake received $34,180.
Wawasee and Syracuse lakes received $13,000. An additional $150,000 in LARE grant money was also awarded to sponsors for sediment removal in Lake Wawasee. The state awarded $583,700 in grants to six projects for sediment removal or a removal plan.
The local sponsors of these projects will share at least 20 percent of the total cost.
The grant regarding sediment removal is for developing a sediment removal plan, the first step in any LARE dredging project. Wawasee’s grant is one of four projects that include actual sediment removal following at least a year of planning. Projects to dredge lake inlets or boating access channels receive the highest priority for LARE funding.
“We look to fund projects that will improve public accessibility to Indiana waterways and lakes,” said Mark Reiter, Division of Fish & Wildlife director. “Improved access will increase recreation opportunities for boaters, anglers, paddlers, and others who love our waters.”
Regarding the grants to fight aquatic invasive plants Reiter stated, “Using LARE grants to control aquatic invasive plants in lakes is just one aspect of our ongoing efforts to restore or improve aquatic habitat for fish. Controlling invasive species gives native vegetation a better chance to propagate which can improve recreational opportunities for anglers and boaters on many popular public lakes.”
These grants will help control or manage aggressive non-native species, including Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, and starry stonewort, that can take over and clog lakes. The grants can also provide economic benefits to lake communities by improving and increasing public access opportunities for those who fish or pleasure boat.
LARE grants are funded through the LARE fee paid by boat owners annually when they register their boats with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This user-funded program benefits boaters all over the state. The grants allow for the completion of projects that would be difficult for many local organizations to fund on their own.