August 5, 2010 at 8:49 a.m.

Comfort Lake property in Watershed District cost sharing program to bring back native plants, natural storm water control

Comfort Lake property in Watershed District cost sharing program to bring back native plants, natural storm water control
Comfort Lake property in Watershed District cost sharing program to bring back native plants, natural storm water control

The McEvoy house sits atop a fairly steep rise on Comfort Lake that catches the nice lake breeze, but also speeds stormwater run-off from the neighborhood and off the roof of the home itself into the lake. The yard drops into the water where invasive weeds guard the shoreline.

Native plants and rushes would have rimmed the lakeshore at one.

By next year-- that's exactly what there will be...natives flowering and sending up their foliage for the McEvoy clan to enjoy, and from which the lake will benefit.

Diane McEvoy laid out her backyard's new landscape plan with the Chisago County Soil and Water Conservation District. It includes dozens of varieties of plant species.

The plan was okayed by the Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District Board as qualifying for a cost-sharing program promoting Best Management Practices or BMPs.

(The plantings will go in along the lower hill, to the viewer's left of the swinging chair.)

The layout swoops downhill in a crescent and stays to one side of the dock, leaving space to haul boats out of the water and store the dock off the ice in wintertime.

McEvoy said it was important to keep the plantings nearest the swimming area short, so that she can clearly see to supervise the grandkids. At the same time the plantings are to be installed the ramp to the dock will be replaced at the property owner's full expense. Hard-scape is not normally something done under the Watershed District's cost sharing.

The landscaping team works the first few days to kill off the invasive species with hand applied pesticides, and the ground gets prepared for the bedding plants. McEvoy said the spot on the hillside is compacted from when rip-rap was hauled in with heavy machinery, so the ground there needs a lot of prep.

If all goes well, and the weather cooperates, the crews can get everything in before fall and by next spring the shoreline should be moving in the right direction.

Another BMP project supported through the watershed district's program was installed on the opposite side of Comfort Lake from where the McEvoy project is getting underway. The Trandal family residence had a low area where the water and yard were at the same level, and there was no delineation between the lake, lawn or soils. Done last year, this project is featured in photos on the Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District website; along with details of another project using BMP cost sharing near Ashton Lake.

To see if a lakeshore project qualifies for the watershed district cost sharing contact the Soil and Water Conservation District offices in North Branch. Schedule a site visit by calling the 651-209-9753. Refer to the community cost share incentive program.

The design expense is fully covered and done by experts with the SWCD. If you have someone else in mind for the design the cost may be shared up to $500. The materials and labor are split 50-50. The max is $3,000 from the watershed district.

Potential projects that are most important include: erosion control, enhancing wildlife communities, shoreline and streambank restoration and raingardens. Projects that provide public education or allow for collaboration get high priority.

Your project must be within the Comfort Lake-Forest Lake watershed district to qualify for this program. Applications can be downloaded at clflwd.org.


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