Funding offered through CRWD

Published 5:03 pm Saturday, May 15, 2010

About $22,000 in funding assistance is available through the Cedar River Watershed Districts for projects to improve water quality and reduce flooding.

The funds are available through the watershed district’s first cost-share program to support area projects. Funds will be available for three types of projects: rain gardens, wetland restoration and culvert assessments.

Justin Hanson, a resource specialist with the CRWD, said the three are key measures to improve water quality and reduce flooding.

Along with providing assistant to local projects, Hanson said the cost share program is an educational tool to inform people and spark ideas for potential projects.

About $5,000 has been put in a rain garden assistance fund. Rain gardens commonly serve as filters for runoff, according to Hanson. Cost share money will fund up to half of the costs of designing, building and planting a rain garden. Funding will be capped at $2,000 for large projects.

Rain gardens are becoming common in rural areas, but there are few rain garden programs in the district, Hanson said.

“Your trying to build awareness,” Hanson said. “It’s good to put in a rain garden. If your neighbor sees you doing it, they may want to put in a rain garden.”

Another $5,000 will be dedicated to reclaiming wetlands. According to Hanson, 90 percent of the wetlands in the district have been fully or partially drained in the last 100 years. The program aims to restore drained wetlands to help control flooding.

The district is also looking to help townships understand how water culverts operate. About $12,500 will be available to help townships assess water flow in culverts.

The watershed district will pay up to half the cost of an assessment. Hanson said the townships aren’t required to follow the advice of the assessment.

Hanson said $12,500 was dedicated to culvert assessments so there was enough money to provide assistance to all 25 townships in the district, Hanson said.

The funding for all projects will be given to the first suitable projects to apply. Applications will be available on the watershed district’s Web site at www.cedarriverwd.org.

For more information, contact Justin Hanson at 507-434-2603 or justin.hanson@mowerswcd.org