More state lake funding
The local lake restoration project has done well to position itself for additional state funding for lake dredging.
The state legislature has set aside only $350,000 for lake dredging in the next fiscal year, and according to criteria Storm Lake could be a major contender for those dollars.
The money come through the Environment First Fund, with dollars appropriated for lake dredging and for dredging preparation.
The criteria are:
1. Documented efforts to address watershed protection, which can include testing, conservation efforts and the amount of time devoted to watershed protection.
2. Protection of a natural resource and natural habitat.
3. Percentage of public access and undeveloped lake front property.
4. Continuation of current projects partially funded by state resources to achieve recommendations by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
When appropriating the funds, the legislature did not specify where they would go, instead listing criteria that had to be met before the money is given to any one project, said Ross Harrison, spokesman for the DNR.
"All I can tell you is Storm Lake is apparently doing a good job at meeting the criteria for eligibility there for Storm Lake," he said.
Harrison did not know what other lake projects might be seeking the funds.
The Lake Preservation Association plans to present its progress firsthand to DNR officials next week at the LPA's annual meeting. DNR Director Jeff Vonk will attend.
The LPA will be able to list considerable support for a local project, with $600,000 pledges from both the City of Storm Lake and the county board of supervisors and $30,000 from the City of Lakeside. Pledges from private citizens total approximately $250,000.
Also, there is a considerable list of projects that could help meet the state's criteria for additional funds - numerous CRP acres, several large-scale water quality protection projects, and continued water monitoring by Buena Vista University students.
Plus approximately 30 percent of the lakeshore is accessible by the public.
Current LPA plans are to have at least half the lake dredged to a depth of approximately 12 feet.
The state-funded project will see 180 acres dredged this year. A crew from L.W. Matteson Company has been pumping silt for about two weeks now, with the project expected to last 90 days.