Crystal-Pierz cleanup efforts attract funding

CRYSTAL, Minn. – The volunteer effort spurred by Crystal-Pierz Marine’s annual Lake Cleanup event was recently rewarded by the state of Minnesota, which has issued a $112,300 grant to examine the health of several lakes in the state, Crystal-Pierz reported in a release yesterday.

The grant is part of the state’s Clean Water Legacy program. The 2006 Legislature funded $1 million to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to assess lakes and streams to see if they meet federal standards for clean water. The two-year program will provide water quality levels for Pickerel Lake, Lake Chapeau, Fountain Lake, Albert Lea Lake, and Upper and Lower Twin Lakes. A total of 41 groups applied for this grant, and 13 were chosen for funding.

“The MPCA chose this watershed because of strong volunteer support,” said Cathy Rofshus, outreach director for the watershed. “I thank all the people who have picked up trash along the shore, donated money, or otherwise volunteered. Every effort counted in this grant application, from Mr. Bizjak’s eighth-grade students planting rain gardens to Crystal-Pierz spearheading lake cleanup.”

The Watershed District set up a comprehensive water-monitoring program in 2004. It monitors three lakes and 10 stream sites for water clarity, phosphorus levels, bacteria, sedimentation and other factors. The program has identified phosphorus and sediment as the main pollutants in local lakes.

“When you show the community cares, the state takes notice,” Randy Erdman, mayor of Albert Lea, said. “Crystal-Pierz Marine deserves a lot of credit for getting about 100 volunteers involved in the marine dealer’s annual lake cleanup even.”

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