March 17, 2008

Root-Pike WIN gives $46,328 in spring grants

The Root-Pike Watershed Initiative announced $46,328 in spring grants for local projects. They include:
· $10,000 to the Village of Mt. Pleasant for improvements in the north branch of the Pike River to reduce sedimentation, aid fish in traveling up the river and restore the corridor’s native vegetation.

· $10,000 to study Blanding’s turtle populations in Racine and Kenosha counties with the goal of protecting the habitat of the species, which is threatened in Wisconsin.

· $9,431 to the City of Racine Health Department to carryout a 14-month assessment of water quality in the Root River from the Horlick Dam to Lake Michigan in Racine. The study, an expansion of one undertaken last summer, will include additional water quality parameters of dissolved oxygen and phosphorus.

· $7,250 to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside for a land restoration project in the riparian zone immediately surrounding the Root River Environmental Education Community Center in downtown Racine.

· $5,000 to Milwaukee County Parks Department to convert agricultural lands located in Franklin Park, an undeveloped park in the City of Franklin, to native prairie and savanna.

· $2,000 to a Leadership Racine group to attract attendance at the May 3, 2008 open house event of the Root River Environmental Education Community Center (REC) with a free fishing event for youth, and educate the public about fish species and habitat in the Root River with the creation of an educational exhibit.

· $1,947 to Hoy Audubon Society and Pringle Nature Center to monitor ephemeral ponds in the Chiwaukee Prairie in Kenosha. Ephemeral ponds are basins that seasonally fill with water and provide vital habitat to amphibians which thrive in the absence of predatory fish. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is expanding citizen monitoring of the ponds from Kenosha to Sheboygan counties to understand the ecosystem and determine the need for rules to protect the ponds.

· $700 to a Leadership Racine group to develop a Root River Water Trail in the Upper Root River, above the Horlick Dam, for the purpose of expanding the recreational opportunities on that portion of the river and increasing understanding of the historical and cultural significance of the river. Signs will be installed along the river banks, and people can launch watercraft and follow the signs to learn about historical information and recreational opportunities.
Ten applicants applied for grant funding in the cycle that ended Feb. 2. Root-Pike WIN’s next grant cycle ends Aug. 25 and grants will be awarded in fall 2008.

“The $46,328 in grants is the largest amount awarded by Root-Pike WIN in a single grant cycle,” said Susan Greenfield, executive director of Root-Pike WIN. “We had a wide range of excellent projects and well-written grant proposals. We are pleased we were able to fund so many good projects.”

Since 2001 the organization has awarded $357,498 to 79 watershed projects, thanks to financial support from SC Johnson Fund, E.C. Styberg Foundation, Racine Community Foundation and WE Energies Foundation. The Root-Pike watershed extends from Kenosha County, through Racine, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. The Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network grew out of a group convened in 1998 by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to identify critical natural resource issues in the Root River and Pike River watersheds.

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