Letter: Shoreland restoration funding available

To the editor:

Careful use of land surrounding our lakes and streams is essential to protect one of Shawano County’s greatest assets – clean water. Good water quality is also necessary for many wildlife species and providing us with recreational opportunities such as fishing, boating and swimming.

Shawano County has begun a program offering cost-sharing of 50 percent (up to $2,500 per property) for the voluntary installation of shoreland restoration projects. Property owners, who are required to complete shoreland mitigation projects, will be eligible for a 25 percent cost-share rate and up to $1,250 of cost-share per property.

The majority of this program will be focused within the Shawano Lake watershed. The Shawano Lake watershed contains Shawano, Bahr, Korth, Lily, Loon, Lulu, Washington and White Clay lakes, their tributaries, and all lands draining into these waterways.

Project proposals throughout the rest of Shawano County will also be considered. Rain gardens can also be an eligible practice depending on the needs of the site.

Natural shorelands contain a mixture of native grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees that help filter polluted runoff and provide essential habitat for animals in the water and on the land. Native plants have an extremely deep root system that helps control erosion, promote infiltration and, once established, require very little maintenance. Vegetation along the shoreline also creates a biological barrier to deter Canada geese.

In 2014, the first shoreland restoration project was installed at Whispering Pines Retreat on the North Shore of Shawano Lake. In 2015, the second project was installed at the Hubertus property on Long Lake. In 2016, the third project was installed at the Freiberg property on Lower Red Lake. I recommend you check them out.

Funding is still available. If you have an interest is this type of project for your property, please contact me at 715-526-4632 or scott.frank@co.shawano.wi.us. I look forward to working with you.

Scott Frank,

Conservationist,

Shawano County Land Conservation Department