A $200,000 grant will start off a project to protect the Mauvaisterre Creek watershed. Mike Baise, of the American Farmland Trust, announced at a recent Jacksonville City Council meeting that the EPA awarded a 319 Grant for the Trust to lead an effort to reduce soil erosion upstream from Mauvaisterre Lake. The EPA contributed $120,o00 with the Trust matching with a $80,000 contribution.

Baise will lead a team meeting with farmers and landowners over the winter to identify projects which slow down water and reduce run-off from farms. He hopes to identify projects like ponds, berms, buffer strips and other erosion control devices that farmers can put on their land. Besides the benefits to the farmers in preserving their topsoil, Mauvaisterre Lake (a source for drinking water for Jacksonville, Illinois and surrounding homes on rural water networks) would have less siltation and the phosphorus which comes with the silt.
Future projects would be funded by EPA grant monies for 60% of the cost. The remaining 40% would be covered by a local match in a mix of private, city and state funds as well as by the landowners. Volunteer time spent on approved projects would also count towards the local match.The city of Jacksonville is starting a multi-million dollar project to dredge Mauvaisterre Lake. Possible EPA and American Farmland Trust projects would pay off by lengthening the time until dredging would need to be done again. The projects and techniques used on the Mauvaisterre watershed can also be used in the future to help Lake Jacksonville.

Have any historical photos of Mauvaisterre Lake? As part of the research Baise is seeking old aerial photos, as well as images made at lake level, showing various stages of sedimentation and shoreline position over time. Please use contact form.

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