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 DNR Announces $1 Million in Lake, River Improvement Projects

July 23, 2008 - More than $1 million in grants will go toward care of 26 of Indiana's waterways this year through the DNR's Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program, part of the DNR's Division of Fish and Wildlife.

"Boaters make these grants possible through the Lake Enhancement Fee paid when they register their boats," said DNR director Robert E. Carter Jr. in announcing the awards. "These funds, in turn, provide money for projects targeted to protect and enhance the very resources used in aquatic recreational pursuits, including fishing and boating."

The 26 projects approved total $1,055,110, and were submitted by local sponsors and include the commitment of each to share a portion of the total project cost.

"The LARE grants provide crucial financial assistance to local groups in tackling natural resource issues that can be very expensive and perhaps impossible for them to address on their own," said Jim Ray, section chief for the LARE program.

Ray added that these projects can require years of planning and diligence to complete. The grants for 2008-09 feature both biological and engineering projects, including diagnostic, design, and engineering feasibility studies, as well as construction projects. Several watershed land-treatment projects received funding to provide assistance to landowners with water-quality concerns near locally important streams. These grants complement the $1.19 million in more specifically targeted LARE grant awards that Carter announced in March to address nuisance aquatic vegetation and dredging of sediment.

Funding for the newly announced targeted projects comes from the LARE fee paid annually by boat owners to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which is a variable fee based on the value of the boat when new.

"A positive local and state economic impact occurs with access to improved water resources," Ray said. "People are able to more fully enjoy boating, fishing and other activities, while at the same time supporting projects that enhance and improve the aquatic environment for fish and other inhabitants of Indiana's waters."

The full list can be obtained on the DNR’s website and includes Geist Reservoir and some bodies of water in Henry and Hancock counties, including Big Blue River.

 

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