UNDATED – The Department of Natural Resources recently awarded $499,970 in grants through the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program to improve the waterways in several Indiana counties.
DNR grants totaling $325,410 were awarded and will be used for logjam and sediment- removal projects for nine projects in nine counties (bit.ly/3abzChB). The other $174,560 was awarded to fund 10 projects to remove aquatic invasive plants in 21 lakes in seven counties (bit.ly/3tnwwyH).
The first category of funded projects includes grants for logjam projects and the planning and implementation of sediment removal. The removal projects help improve recreation and eliminate excess nutrients near inlets. Logjam projects include the removal of massive amounts of debris that block streams. Only large logjams that block entire streams, causing bank erosion or the creation of new streams, creeks, or river channels, are eligible. Projects to remove accumulated sediments (i.e., dredge) from lake inlets or boating access channels receive the highest priority for LARE funding.
The second category of funded projects, controlling aquatic invasive plants, will help manage aggressive non-native aquatic species that replace Indiana’s native aquatic species and dominate aquatic plant communities. Examples include Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, and starry stonewort. Invasive aquatic plant control may also provide economic benefits to lake communities by improving and increasing public access opportunities for anglers and boaters.
LARE grants are funded through the LARE fee paid by recreational boat owners annually when they register their boats with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This user-funded program benefits boaters throughout the state. The grants allow for the completion of projects that would be difficult for local organizations to fund on their own. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, and local sponsors share at least 20% of the cost of the projects.
The list of all projects by water body, county, project type, and grant award is at bit.ly/3rDCXfa. LARE policies were recently updated and apply to any projects awarded LARE grant funds beginning in 2021, as shown at bit.ly/3dCah1p.