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WAPOA Shoreland Restoration Contest awards $11,000 to nine projects

The Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) will award the following contestants a total of $11,000 to help fund shoreland restoration projects as part of WAPOA's sixth annual Shoreland Restoration Contest.

Cindy Reick, Upper Hay Lake; Ron and Lisa Engblom, Ossawinnamakee Lake; Denny and Donna Gambiana, Ossawinnamakee Lake; Ric and Jane Carlson, Crosslake; Julie and Charles Costa, Ossiwinnamakee Lake; John Olson/Wilderness Park, Little Pine Lake; Geoff and Muffie Davidge, Lower Whitefish Lake; Marcelo Valdes, Ossawinnamakee Lake; and Mike and JoAnn Dougherty, Lower Whitefish Lake.

In addition, some recipients will receive a full or half day of Minnesota Conservation Corps (MCC) crew labor.

Ten contestants presented their projects to a team of judges June 18 at Ideal Town Hall. There was an excellent range of small to large projects presented that will have a positive effect on water quality. WAPOA had planned to award $7,000 and MCC crew hours, but decided with the number of quality projects presented to award the $11,000 and crew hours. WAPOA applied for and was awarded a Community Centered Runoff Mini Grant from the Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), which made these awards possible.

The next step will be to work with these contestants to bring their projects to completion by the end of this year. Then, maintenance plans will be put in place to assure success and growth of the native plants and the restoration work.

The shoreland contest continues to evolve and expand as people realize lake water quality is decreasing, and shoreline restoration can help turn this trend around.

WAPOA has been fortunate to have area professionals from the Crow Wing County SWCD, the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and local restoration businesses to help plan and judge the projects.

The area has seen heavy rains over the last few years that have caused significant erosion and debris to be flushed into area lakes. Creeks and rivers have flowed over their banks and caused lake water levels to rise. These shoreline restoration buffers will help retain and filter the runoff water into lakes.

For more information or to comment on WAPOA's Shoreland Restoration Contest, contact Jim Brandt at 218-543-6483.