Indiana Department of Natural Resources director Dan Bortner announced that organizations in 11 Indiana counties will receive $1,143,000 in grants to fund 17 lake and river or stream projects through the DNR Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program.
“Keeping Indiana’s waterways clean and protecting our valued natural resources is a mission central to our work at DNR,” Bortner said. “We’re thankful for Hoosier boaters who have helped us fund more than $22 million of important conservation of Indiana’s lakes and streams over the last two decades through the LARE program. The impact is felt now and will continue to make a difference for generations to come.”
The grants are funded through the LARE fee paid annually by boat owners when they register their crafts with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This user funded program benefits boaters all over the state. The grants allow for the completion of projects that would be difficult for local organizations to fund on their own. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, and local sponsors share at least 20% of the cost.
This round of grant-funded projects will benefit seven lakes and 11 rivers and streams. Many of the projects aim to improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient inputs. Improved water quality helps fish and wildlife populations and improves recreational opportunities.
This year, LARE partnered with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the city of Fort Wayne, Vigo County, and The Nature Conservancy to fund three dam removal projects. These projects will result in more than 1,030 miles of open streams and rivers, allowing for free passage of fish, aquatic organisms, and recreational users such as paddlers.
The projects, listed by water body, county, project type, and grant award, can be found at lare.dnr.IN.gov.