New Grants Secured in Northeast Anoka County

This spring, long time Martin Lake residents Wally and Nancy Olson challenged the other members of their lake associations: donate $3,000 for lake water quality improvement and we'll match it. In just a few weeks $3,600 in donations poured in, including 21 households that donated $100 or more. Total funds raised was $6,600. This followed a similar challenge and response in 2020.

The funds will go into the lake association's Water Quality Fund. In the past, this money has been used for a variety of projects including rain gardens, stormwater ponds, carp management, and aquatic invasive species prevention. In nearly every case the lake association and its partners have used the funds as match for grants, multiplying their cash by 4x to 10x.

Some of the money raised by the Martin Lakers is being used as matching funds toward a new grant secured from the Anoka County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program for radio tagging carp. Linwood, Typo, and Martin Lake are each receiving $3,000 for carp management from the AIS Prevention Program. The lakes are part of a chain of lakes with active carp management led by the Anoka Conservation District. Carp are being removed where they are abundant, and harmful to water quality and habitat.

Along with matching funds from the Martin Lakers, the grants were supported by $750 in matching funds from the Linwood Lake Improvement Association and Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization.

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Where the Anoka Conservation District Money Goes

ACD finances historically experience dramatic variability from year to year due to activities being driven by competitive grants, several of which have been in excess of $400,000. Many state grants are from sales tax revenue dedicated to natural resource activities. ACD is committed to accessing these funds so Anoka County taxpayers will benefit from them in proportion to sales tax paid in the county. Also of note is how consistent ACD's operational and personnel costs have been. ACD staff and supervisors strive to keep overhead costs down, while expanding service

Making Sense of the Dollars: Although governed by an elected board, conservation districts do not yet have taxing authority and must secure funds from many sources to maintain programs and services. State grants are the primary funding source for project installation, while the county provides seven times what the state does to support general district operations. County funds are critical because many grants do not cover overhead expenses. Unfortunately, many grants also require matching funds, so county funds must serve as match and cover all costs ineligible under complex grant rules.

Making Dollars of the Cents: To provide comprehensive natural resource management, ACD collaborates with cities, watershed management entities, state agencies, county departments, non-profits, and landowners on projects of mutual interest. The 2019 revenue chart begins to convey this but does not show the 68 projects and programs supported by 26 distinct funding sources, many of which supported multiple projects and programs. For example, County Project Funds alone is comprised of 12 projects, and State Grants were used in part to fund 35 different initiatives 


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