A major responsibility of the Crow Wing LARA board is to administer the CWEPA (Crow Wing Environment Protection Advised) Fund. Approximately $3,000 per year is available to nonprofit or local government organizations wishing to complete an environmental project in Crow Wing County. Proposals must align with the mission of the fund.
Due to the lack of applications for the grant in 2017 and 2018, in 2019 LARA worked with the Initiative Foundation, which manages the fund, to have the CWEPA Fund reclassified to a Designated Fund. What this means is that an annual grant will be awarded to LARA as long as the organization continues to exist and its mission supports the purpose of the Fund. This grant money is kept separate from LARA’s other assets and may be used only for things that fit the purpose of the Fund, which is to provide operational support to projects, programs and activities that lead to the protection, restoration, and preservation of natural resources and environmental assets within Crow Wing County.
LARA will use the annual grant to support Crow Wing County projects and initiatives that meet the purpose of the Fund. LARA will have the ability to retain money not given to qualifying projects any given year and thus increase the amount available for future use. This is something it couldn’t do under the former fund designation.
CLC Awarded 2022 CWEPA Funding
The Central Lakes College Department of Natural Resources has been awarded a CWEPA Grant in the amount of $3,000 to purchase native shrub and small tree species to develop a teaching and community demonstration site. The shrubs would be planted in natural arrangements, and “underplanted” with plugs of Pennsylvania Sedge harvested from our adjacent property, to create a natural community requiring no mowing, watering, or chemical treatment (similar to the prairie we planted about four years ago on the south lawn). This approach to landscape design is less impactful to terrestrial and shoreline habitats, requires less water, herbicide, and other inputs as these species are adapted for existing conditions. The anticipated outcome is less water use, erosion, and chemical inputs to water bodies, as this approach becomes more normalized.
The site will further the goal of establishing an "Environmental Landscaping" program at the college. The program would combine courses from the Natural Resources and Horticulture programs that would train students to incorporate native plant communities in landscape design and utilize native species. The program would aim to change the paradigm that yards need to be carved out from the forest or prairie and replaced with nursery cultivars and specimens. Instead, this approach to landscaping would assess the native plant communities already there and incorporate these into design, reducing watering, herbicide and pesticide use, limiting the spread of non-native/invasive species, and preserving native plant communities.
Northland Arboretum Awarded 2021 CWEPA Funding
The Northland Arboretum is restoring an area of land to native prairie with a goal of attracting pollinators to the area and educating visitors about prairie ecosystems. The project has an added bonus of eliminating the invasive species in that area – including black locust, buckthorn and tansy. The project area is approximately 5 acres of unmaintained land that sits adjacent to the composting area and vegetable gardens. The Crow Wing LARA board awarded the Northland Arboretum $3,000 of CWEPA funding to assist with the purchase of native seed mixes to cover the restoration area.
The CWEPA (Crow Wing Environment Protection Advised) Fund are grant dollars administrated by the Crow Wing LARA board of directors and are used to support environmental projects that lead to the protection, restoration, and preservation of natural resources and environmental assets within Crow Wing County. Approximately $3,000 per year is available to nonprofit or local government organizations wishing to complete an environmental project in Crow Wing County. If you are aware of any projects in Crow Wing County that might qualify for such funding, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of the CWEPA Fund is to provide operational support to projects, programs and activities that lead to the protection, restoration, and preservation of natural resources and environmental assets within Crow Wing County.
Past CWEPA Fund Recipients
Central Lakes College -- To purchase native shrubs and trees for an "Environmental Landscaping" demonstration garden on campus. $3,000
Northland Arboretum -- To purchase native seed mixes for a prairie restoration project with a focus on attracting pollinators and removing invasive species that have overgrown the project site. $3,000
No projects identified - No funds distributed.
National Loon Center Foundation -- $3,400
East Twin Lake Association -- To replace trees and stabilize shoreline in areas impacted by the Highway 371 expansion project. $3,000
Crow Wing County SWCD -- To help fund the creation of a vegetated catch basin for stormwater control between the west end of Round Lake and Highway 371. $2,500
Pelican Lakes Association -- To help fund its well testing for water quality project. $2,800
City of Nisswa -- To replace trees along the Highway 371 corridor near downtown Nisswa that were lost when the highway was expanded through the city. $2,500
Cullen Lakes Association -- To assist in establishing an aquatic plant identification and management program. (Mary Blickenderfer conducted a two day workshop on this.) $600
Lake Hubert Conservation Association -- To involve, educate, and encourage lakeshore property owners to become more active in monitoring and preventing AIS. $742