January Newsletter

In This Edition:

  • Our New Executive Director
  • Watershed Management Plan Implementation Begins
  • Community Action Initiative Recap
  • 2022 Highlights
  • New Board Member Request
  • Get Involved! Donate!

Friends of Lake Monroe has grown tremendously over the last six years.  This growth has rested heavily on the tireless work of volunteers like our founder and president, Sherry Mitchell-Bruker.  With the help of our members and supporters, we were able to hire our first Executive Director, Iris O’Donnell Bellisario, in July 2022.  Iris is an experienced community organizer who has already helped strengthen and professionalize our organization.  Her work will be key in our ongoing efforts to implement our newly created watershed management plan. 

Continue to support our organization’s growth by donating here. 

Watershed Management Plan Published

After 2 years of researching, collecting data, and meeting with community members we published the Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan in January 2022, prepared by Maggie Sullivan. This management plan is a 203 page document detailing problems facing the lake, quantifying their magnitude, identifying their source(s) and highlighting solutions for addressing them.

View our virtual executive summary here.

Watershed Management Plan Implementation

Friends of Lake Monroe has just launched a $300,000 project to implement portions of the Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan over the next 2.5 years.  The heart of this project will be a cost-share program providing financial support to watershed residents who adopt new soil and water conservation practices.  Examples include utilizing cover crops, fencing livestock out of streams, and revegetating stream corridors.  Additional initiatives include septic system maintenance education workshops, farm tours, forestry trainings, stream cleanups, boat tours, and a citizen science project using volunteers to monitor shoreline erosion at the lake.  Our goal is to reduce the amount of sediment, nutrients, and fecal contamination entering the lake by empowering watershed residents to take action.  For more information, contact our watershed coordinator Maggie Sullivan.

Cost-Share Program

Friends of Lake Monroe has launched a new voluntary cost-share program for the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) that reduce erosion and water pollution.  This funding is available to landowners in the Lake Monroe watershed, which spans portions of Monroe, Brown, and Jackson Counties.  Example practices include planting cover crops after the main crops are harvested, installing permanent vegetation along streams, fencing livestock out of streams, and installing heavy use area protection where livestock gather.

Adopting best management practices is a key strategy for reducing the amount of sediment, nutrients, and fecal contamination reaching the lake and its tributaries.  Most practices will be funded at 75% of the total cost (landowner pays 25%).  Project funding comes from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Monroe County Stormwater Board, and in-kind support from ten partner organizations.  Detailed program information is posted online at www.friendsoflakemonroe.org/cost-share or contact Watershed Coordinator Maggie Sullivan (812-558-0217 or watershed@friendsoflakemonroe.org to learn more.

Community Action Initiative Recap

Friends of Lake Monroe 2022 Highlights

In Memoriam

Always a scientist, Jim Tarnowski appreciated Friends for its use of science as a basis for its arguments that the entire watershed for the Lake needs monitoring. Jim has supported Friends of Lake Monroe since the beginning.  We are very fortunate to have known Jim. We send our condolences to his family.

Announcing Our 2023 Board Members

Officers for 2022:

Sherry Mitchell-Bruker, President
Jim Krause, Vice President
Joe Ryan, Treasurer
Keith Bobay, Secretary

At Large Members:
Carolyn Waldron
Cheryl Munson
Tom Gallagher


Become a Board Member

Friends of Lake Monroe is seeking volunteer leaders to join its dynamic board of directors. More information on our current projects can be found at friendsoflakemonroe.org.

The board needs a variety of skills, with a strong emphasis on development, fundraising, grant writing, and media expertise, as well as those connected to Lake Monroe and the surrounding community, cultural organizations, and folks who enjoy the outdoors. Board members are actively involved in organizational governance and expected to attend monthly board meetings and participate in some of the following: fundraising, financial contributions, or joining a committee.

Are you or someone you know interested in joining the board? Reach out to friendsoflakemonroe@gmail.com with interest by March 15, 2022.

Get Involved!

Many of you have become FLM members or have made a donation.  Wouldn’t you enjoy being a closer part of the group?

FLM’s volunteer coordinator, Keith Bobay, is waiting to hear from you at volunteer@friendsoflakemonroe!

Here Are Specific Opportunities We Have Now.

Join our Development committee and help with fundraising, recruiting new members, and organizing special events.  We are in the brainstorming phase and would love your ideas.  Contact Jim Krause at development@friendsoflakemonroe.org

Volunteer with us! We will be sending out mailings to all of our donors for 2022, and are looking for volunteers to meet us at the Monroe County Public Library on February 24, 2023 from 2:15 – 3:00 pm to help stuff envelopes! Reach out to Iris O’Donnell Bellisario at director@friendsoflakemonroe.org with interest!

Join our Science Committee. The science committee currently meets on the 4th Thursday of every month in the evening. Reach out to Maggie Sullivan at watershed@friendsoflakemonroe.org

Join us at a clean up! Our 2023 dates have been announced and registration links will be available on our website: 
Sunday, April 23 at 2 pm
Thursday, May 25 at 6 pm
Thursday, June 22 at 6 pm
Thursday, July 20, 6 pm
Thursday, Aug 24, 6 pm
Thursday, Sept 21, 6 pm
Sunday, Oct 22, 2 pm
Sunday, Nov 19, 2 pm
Reach out to Keith Bobay at volunteer@friendsoflakemonroe.org with questions or interest.

Share your enjoyment of the lake and inspire other members by posting events, news, and photos to our Facebook group:

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