Lake Wisconsin’s shores are disappearing. And property owners there are calling the Land and Water Conservation Department for help. The director of the department, Kurt Calkins, admits that people tend to think of the department in relations to rural farms and not the more developed Lake Wisconsin, but more and more people realize that the rural and the urban are interconnected and that conservation efforts affect both.

Calkins explains more about the urban-rural connection here:

The Lake Wisconsin shoreline was eroding fast on the unimproved lot in the town of Lodi. Last winter, a wall of ice 5 1/2-feet high gobbled up a big chunk of the land, according to Chris Arnold, water resource specialist for the Land and Water Conservation Department.

But a call to the Land and Water Conservation Department, he said, can connect property owners with the expertise of the department employees, and a little bit of help to pay for the work. The department offers 50 percent cost-sharing for shoreline stabilization projects, with a cap of $2,500 per project.

Arnold said the property’s owner is an out-of-towner, who visits the property regularly for recreational purposes, but has no plans to build a house or cabin on it. All the owner wanted, Arnold said, was to stop the erosion and leave a corridor to install a dock.

Tim O’Leary, conservation specialist for the department, said the project, which entailed installing riprap well out into the water, cost about $30,000, plus another $5,000 for plants.

The plants, according to Arnold, were basically a ready-made prairie, rolled up in a sod mat.

Kurt Calkins, director of the Columbia County Land and Water Conservation Department, said people tend to think of the department in terms of farms. And a lot of the work that the department does is on farms, like a town of Lodi dairy farm that was a tour stop Monday for its non-point source pollution abatement project.

But in truth, Calkins said, erosion and pollution in both rural and urban areas affect the quality of water and land.

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