Legislature Approves $2.4M in Grants for Watershed Projects

A $2.4 million grant for ongoing Shell Rock River Watershed District and habitat restoration passed the Senate on Thursday as part of the omnibus legacy bill.

The project, included in the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council section of the bill, includes restoration, enhancement and protection work on Pickerel Lake, School Section Lake, Halls Lake, Sugar Lake, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes and Wedge Creek, according to a news release.

It will re-establish native vegetation, improve fish and fowl habitat and reduce damage by rough fish in the watershed.

“This grant takes us another great step along our path to restoring our watershed,” said Andy Henschel, director of field operations for the watershed district, in the release. “We are proud that the council and the Legislature have recognized our work, and we are committed to continuing to be good stewards of the dollars the state grants us.”

The project had now passed in both the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the legacy bill and will proceed to a conference committee, where members of both the House and Senate will meet to work out differences.

The bill is expected to be completed by May 18, the end of the regular session. The Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council was established by the Legislature to provide annual recommendations on how the Outdoor Heritage funds are utilized.

In this round, the council is recommending $100 million in conservation efforts across the state.

The Outdoor Heritage Council receives one-third of the money raised by the constitutional amendment creating sales tax-dedicated funds.

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007