LCCMR makes funding decisions

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At it’s final meeting before the end of the year, the LCCMR got busy trimming the fat.
Anyone who deals with budgets – and the inevitable cutting, squeezing and manipulation that is usually attendant with such prospects — know that it’s never an easy process. But the committee moved along at a good clip and after months of analyzing the various requests for funding that were in front of them, they made their decisions.
At its final meeting, requests on the docket still exceeded their budget by nearly 100 percent, there were some requests that were fully funded and others that got pinched a bit.
The biggest winners in the funding included many invited proposals such as the DNR‘s Forest Legacy, Minnesota County Biological Survey and Biological Control groups. Groups that were omitted from receiving any funding at all included the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District‘s Keller Lake water treatment project, U of M’s watershed program that worked on phosphorus balances in lake management and the DNR’s research program for aquifers and aquifer capacity. You win some and you lose some, for sure.
While some of the projects that made the cut well exceeded the million-dollar mark, others in that monetary ballpark were wiped from the slate.
Some projects are perennial shoe-ins, such as a handful of the land conservation programs, but it was unfortunate to see that the Blue Earth River Basin Alliance did not receive a funding recommendation for its wetland restoration program. A program involving water resource management for sustainable biofuel production also didn’t make the cut – an unfortunate situation. As we move toward examining alternative fuel sources, monies need to be dedicated to the research and development of such programs – and with a keen eye on how this impacts our water resources. It’s been well-reported that ethanol production has many negative impacts to it – mainly the taxing amount of water use it requires in its fuel production.
Certainly, the LCCMR argues that some of these programs will need to request monies from other legislative committees and public and private organizations. How well they may fare in those arenas is unknown.
The LCCMR will meet on January 5 to hammer out the language for the recommendations it makes to the legislature. You can be assured there will be a lot of “wordsmithing” going on at this meeting.

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