A local conservation agency says they don’t require specialist input prior to delivering on grant fund requests.
The comments come after a recommendation by the Starke County Park Board to seek grants from Arrowhead Country RC&D. If selected, monies would be used to construct a bypass ditch across the south side of the Starke County Forest. The work aims to move water around a decades-old marsh, preventing damage to wildlife in the area.
Arrowhead Country RC&D Treasurer Howard Conner says they try to understand the projects they do fund.
“We may ask to have some people explain it to us, have some people come to our meeting and explain it, maybe have some pictures,” says Conner. “But as far as having to get an architectural company or something of that nature involved? No, we don’t require that.”
The Starke County Commissioners will consider the grant application recommendation during their meeting, Monday. Grant funding for the project comes in place of a recommendation to conduct additional topographical and engineering surveys on the site. The study would locate the source of the drainage issues, even the possibility of whether drainage is coming from the east of the Starke County Forest.
Arrowhead Country RC&D favors conservation projects when they consider grant funding in January and February. In the past, they have funded projects that clean the water of the Yellow River.
RC&D Council members from 10 counties ultimately make the decision on the grant funds. Conner says, however, that the $20-thousand total estimated cost for the bypass ditch may be higher than their grants allow.
“We do not grant anything that high,” says Conner.
$5-thousand is typically the cap. At this time, it is not known how many projects bypass ditch funding would be going up against come January.
Should the Starke County Commissioners approve a grant fund application, funds would be delivered based on the time frame for the project. Conner said that the RC&D typically favors conservation projects during their grant considerations.