Shell Rock River Watershed District Receives Legacy Funds for Two Fish Barriers
On May 25, 2009, Governor Pawlenty signed into law the framework and initial funding allocation for the Dedicated Funding flowing from the Constitutional Amendment passed in November 2008. This action will send $655,000 in funds to the Shell Rock River Watershed District to construct three fish barriers on Fountain Lake.
According to Board Chair, Al Bakken, “We were ecstatic when we received this news from St. Paul. Receipt of this new funding source is confirmation that we are moving in the right direction and furthers our goal of leveraging our local sale-tax dollars.”
In March, the Shell Rock River Watershed District passed the first major hurdle in being one of only 19 state-wide projects to receive the recommendation of the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council, to that protect, restorer and enhance habitats for fish, game and wildlife.
As detailed in the Project Plan submitted to the Lessard Council, “[The District]” will install fish barriers at two locations in the Watershed District to exclude carp and other rough fish that destroy fish habits and aquatic vegetation and stir-up phosphorous rich sediments that cause algal blooms and cause water quality impairments. The project will allow for effective carp control in an effort to improve fish habitat, fish spawning and habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.” District Administrator, Brett Behnke, also emphasized, “Improving fish habitat has a clear and measurable added value in improving water quality and aquatic vegetation.”
The District is required to obtain the approval of the Minnesota Department of Resources and have a work-plan approved by the Lessard Council prior to completion of the projects. According to Behnke, “These projects allow us to continue our relationship with the DNR and take us another step closer to completing the Fountain Lake Restoration and Management Plan and eventually obtaining the green light on dredging.”
The Shell Rock River Watershed District was established in 2003 and covers 246 square miles in Freeborn County. In 2005, Albert Lea voters approved a 10-year, ½ % local option sales tax to fund the District’s clean water efforts
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