Q7 Update – County Fairs, Grant Applications, and Data, Oh My!

We are down to the last six months of our grant-funded project to develop a watershed management plan for Lake Monroe.  I am currently juggling three different areas of focus.

  1. Analyze all the data we have collected and use it to build an action plan for improving water quality in Lake Monroe and its tributaries.
  2. Share information with the public in ways we were unable to do in 2020 due to the pandemic.
  3. Apply for a second round of grant funding so we can implement our plan.

Data analysis is complex and we are working to have all charts and graphs reviewed by multiple sets of eyes before being released to the public.  Generally, the results confirm what we anticipated based on past data.  Lake Monroe is mildly eutrophic (meaning it is nutrient-rich and prone to excessive algae growth at times).  We are reviewing load models to determine which tributaries are contributing comparatively more nutrient and sediments (which carry additional nutrients).  This will help us target our improvement efforts more effectively.

Many thanks to IU student Amanda Duba for helping us develop two beautiful banners about the watershed and protecting our drinking water!  We enjoyed sharing the banners and our newest brochure at the Monroe County Fair and Brown County Fair.  Next up is a watershed tour and we would love your thoughts on when to hold it (https://friendsoflakemonroe.org/lake-monroe-watershed-bus-tour/).  The area of land that drains to Lake Monroe is large and diverse and we look forward to showing it off.

Last but not least, we are working on an application for a second round of grant funding through the 319 grant program.  If selected, we will receive funding to keep a watershed coordinator on board and launch a cost-share program to help landowners install best management practices in the watershed.  Funds will also support a huge outreach and education program including septic system education, agricultural field days, forestry field days, boat tours, a citizen science project monitoring lakeshore erosion, and much more.  Many wonderful organizations have offered their assistance.  Special thanks to Monroe County Stormwater Board for pledging $50,000 in matching funds to help us secure the grant.

As always, please reach out with questions, comments or suggestions at watershed@friendsoflakemonroe.org.  Thank you!

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FoLM July Newsletter