What You Can Do
DNR is now offering Healthy Lakes Grants to lake groups/associations and lakefront property owners. The purpose of the grant program is to help fund local projects around the state that focus on simple ways to improve fish habitat, integrate native plantings, divert and clean storm water runoff, and promote natural beauty.
Following are examples of simple projects, each capped at $1000 in state funding, that are included among the Healthy Lakes best practices:
- Deployment of “Fish Sticks,” which may consist of whole downed trees stacked in a cluster and anchored to the shore either fully or partially submerged. Use of fish sticks prevents shoreline erosion while improving fish and wildlife habitat. On average, fish stick projects cost about $500 for a cluster of three to five downed trees.
- Native Planting Installation Packages, which include plan designs and lists of suitable plants for areas at least 10 feet wide and covering a contiguous 350 square feet. Lake shore property owner preferences and site features will determine which packages – such as those developed to attract birds and butterflies or those for woodland plantings – would be most appropriate. When adopted by multiple homeowners, the plantings improve habitat, slow runoff and promote natural beauty. For a 350 square foot area, installed costs total about $1,000.
- Diversion of Storm Water Runoff. By building small berms or shallow “dips,” homeowners can capture runoff from roads or paths and divert the water into an area where it can be infiltrated into the ground. On average, diversion practices cost about $200 installed.
- Placement of Rock Infiltration Trenches, which can capture, store and infiltrate storm water runoff water into the ground where it is filtered and cleaned instead of flowing directly to the lake. Installed costs average $3,800.
- Installation of Upland Rain Gardens, which can improve wildlife habitat while diverting and cleaning storm water runoff. When placed in upland areas near homes, rain gardens can collect roof, road and driveway runoff and prevent it from reaching a lake. While costs vary greatly depending on size and plantings, rain gardens average about $2,500 installed.
The deadline to apply is February 1, 2017.
More information and grant application is available at: Healthy Lakes website.
Road Salt Reduction
The use of de-icing salt on City streets sidewalks and parking lots is contributing to ever increasing levels of chlorides in the lakes. High chloride concentrations affect aquatic life adversely.
Following are a number of resource documents that explain how municipal street crews, private snow removal contractors, business owners and individuals can help reduce chlorides and save money by the smart application of de-icing salt.
For those who use Brine:
Be proactive and let people know ahead of time that applying brine before the storm is fine. Brine is purposely applied before a storm to prevent the formation of frost and bonding of snow and ice to the pavement, and it can be applied days before a forecasted storm. It's often applied on a sunny day to help the brine dry more quickly. Consider using one of attached photos showing brine (anti-icing) lines on the pavement.
Salt Reduction Rebates Available for 2016
Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District is offering rebates in 2016 for projects that document a reduction of salt to the sewer system. The rebates are intended for facilities that have relatively large water softeners (e.g. multi-family residences, industries, large commercial buildings, etc.) and therefore can potentially reduce a large amount of salt that would otherwise get into area lakes and streams. Informational materials and the application are available on MMSD’s Chloride Reduction Website under “Contacts and Resources.”