MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) yesterday announced the department is awarding more than $6.2 million in funding to communities across Wisconsin to protect and restore lakes, rivers and wetlands.

This year, the DNR Surface Water Grant Program selected proposals from 247 eligible award applicants. The projects include outreach and education activities, management planning, habitat restoration, runoff and pollution reduction and aquatic invasive species control.

“The projects selected for award leverage a substantial amount of local funding and promise to make an important contribution to our natural resource legacy,” said Alison Mikulyuk, DNR Lakes and Rivers Team Leader. “One of the strengths of this program is that it supports local groups all along their journey to protect and restore the aquatic systems they know and love. Local groups really come together to do incredible, positive things for our waters.”

Trout populations and anglers will benefit from several projects funded with surface water grants. Trout Unlimited in the Rock Creek watershed of Forest County will use a river management grant to open up 8 miles of trout stream, reconnecting cold water habitat and working with other projects for a holistic approach to habitat restoration in the watershed. In Grant County, the organization will reconnect the Blue River to a floodplain to improve the ecological conditions of the stream.

In the Lake Winnebago watershed, the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance will use a grant to coordinate watershed-wide restoration and implement their recently completed management plan to coordinate watershed-wide restoration. The alliance will work with local groups to build the capacity they need to successfully implement best management practices. They will establish a Shoreline Stewards program to markedly improve shoreline conditions in the watershed of Wisconsin’s largest inland lake.

Another 142 groups will receive support to participate in the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program. Local advocates will focus on education and outreach to watercraft users to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species among waterbodies.

“These are just a few of the many projects receiving funding this year,” Mikulyuk said. “While the grant projects from this year are just getting underway, next year’s grant cycle will be here before you know it.”

Organizations or local groups that could benefit from surface water grant should reach out now to determine eligibility and begin developing ideas in advance of the September deadline.

For more information, or to find a Surface Water Grant project in their community, visit the Surface Water Grants Program webpage where you can also find the full list of awards for this year.