Yahara WINS partnership offers 2019 project grants to reduce phosphorus pollution

The Yahara Watershed Improvement Network partnership is now offering grants for 2019 projects to combat algae-feeding phosphorus pollution in local waterways. 

Yahara WINS has included a total of $24,000 in its 2019 budget for grants to implement innovative projects that reduce the amount of phosphorus entering surface waters. Projects funded by Yahara WINS may reduce any source of phosphorus, including agricultural runoff and urban stormwater. 

“The Yahara WINS innovation grant program aims to encourage new ideas that may expand the range of practices available to benefit the watershed,” said Martin Griffin, president of the Yahara WINS executive committee. “These grants help reduce the costs and risks associated with trying new ideas. Through the program, Yahara WINS leaders also hope to identify techniques with potential scalability to aid larger efforts in the future.” 

Projects should be relatively new or untested and have compelling value as a test case. Applicants must describe why the proposed project is innovative and how it could benefit the Yahara WINs effort by gathering data or testing the viability of an innovative practice. The projects, with a maximum award of $10,000 for any single project, are not required to take place in the Yahara watershed as long as the lessons learned can be applied in the watershed. 

The Yahara WINS partnership has offered grants annually since 2013 as part of an effort to reduce phosphorus through low-cost methods. Since inception, the grant program has awarded approximately $329,000 and kept an estimated 66,000 pounds of phosphorus out of local waters. 

With partners including more than 30 area municipal and county entities, farm groups, water stakeholder organizations and other local entities, Yahara WINS pools resources and provides funding for practices that reduce all sources of phosphorus runoff as part of a 20-year project to achieve water quality goals for the Yahara Watershed. The grants aim to reduce urban and agricultural runoff, the two main sources of phosphorus in local waters. 

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