La PORTE — Several La Porte County lakes will receive grants to aid in eradicating aquatic invasive plants as well as sediment removal.
Area lakes receiving May 2019 Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) Invasive Aquatic Vegetation Management grant awards include:
n Clear Lake in La Porte – $18,300
n Fish Lakes Chain (Upper Fish, Lower Fish and Mud Lakes) in La Porte – $27,000
n Hudson Lake in La Porte – $18,600
n Pine and Stone Lakes in La Porte – $42,500
The 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.
“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,” said Mark Reiter, director of DNR Fish & Wildlife. “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.”
The grants, totaling $632,880, were awarded by DNR director Cameron F. Clark through the LARE program in the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. The 42 projects involve 62 lakes and one river in 15 counties. The applications were submitted by local sponsors who share at least 20 percent of the total cost.
Upper and Lower Fish Lakes and Mud Lake in La Porte County will also receive a $220,000 grant from the LARE program for sediment removal.
The La Porte County lakes were among the May 2019 LARE Sediment Removal and Logjam Removal Project Grant Awards. Grants totaling $583,700 will support projects in six counties this year.
“We look to fund projects that will improve public accessibility to Indiana waterways and lakes,” Reiter said.
The projects were chosen through a competitive process from applications submitted by local sponsors, who agree to share at least 20 percent of the cost.
One grant is for developing a sediment removal plan, which is the first step in any LARE dredging project. Four projects 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. Whole-lake dredging is generally too expensive for any entity to address. The final grant is for logjam removal in a waterway.
To qualify for LARE funding, a logjam must consist of more than just one or two trees. Logjams are massive amounts of debris that block the channel and may be causing erosive cutting of new channels in the stream.
LARE grants are funded through the LARE fee paid by boat owners annually when they register their boats with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. According to the DNR, this user-funded program benefits boaters all over the state as the grants allow for the completion of projects that would be difficult for many local organizations to fund on their own.
The grants can also provide economic benefits to lake communities by improving and increasing public access opportunities for those who fish or pleasure boat.