$1M grant will help Dane County communities clean up lakes

Crews continue search for missing boater on Lake Monona over weekend

Grant money is available for local communities to improve stormwater runoff entering Dane County waters as part of the Urban Water Quality Grant Program, Dane County officials announced Wednesday.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a release that $1 million is available through the grant program this year.

The grants help local communities build stormwater management facilities to capture trash and phosphorus-laden debris, like yard or pet waste from urban areas that otherwise go directly into lakes and streams during heavy rains or when the snow melts, according to the release. Phosphorus is the main reason algae why grows in waterways.

“By partnering with local communities, we are getting more done and stopping more pollutants from getting into our waters,” Parisi said in the release. “This program is an incredible success, stopping the flow of a half-million pounds of debris and 2,000 pounds of phosphorus from running off when it rains.”

One pound of phosphorus is enough to grow 500 pounds of algae, according to the release.

Municipalities that propose projects in one of the county’s top 10 target areas that discharge large amounts of phosphorus and sediment into the lakes will be eligible to receive a 75 percent county cost share, officials said. Other municipalities with eligible projects outside the targeted areas could receive a 50 percent cost share.

Dane County’s Urban Water Quality grants have helped fund 49 projects totaling almost $10 million since 2005, according to the release. Every pound of phosphorus removed from the county’s watershed prevents 500 pounds of algae from growing.

Criteria for the grant application can be found online. Applications are due Oct. 15.