The Washington County Board has approved contracts with water conservation organizations for aquatic invasive species prevention and education. The county was awarded $202,392 in state aid for 2014-15. In January and February, the county asked local organizations for proposals.
The Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District will receive $29,000 to conduct 1,500 hours of watercraft inspections on Forest Lake and a boat launch effectiveness and feasibility study. It will also receive $39,000 to conduct public outreach and education on flowering rush and other aquatic invasive species, assess native plants, and cut and treat flowering rush in Forest Lake.
The Big Marine Lake Association will receive $15,500 to monitor invasive species growth and complete a pre-treatment assessment of native plants and treatment of Eurasian watermilfoil.
The Valley Branch Watershed District will receive $9,600 to do a pre-treatment survey and treat invasive species in Long, Demontreville and Olson lakes, and possibly Lake Jane.
The Washington Conservation District will receive $15,000 to monitor the work of fighting aquatic invasive species and compile lake treatment histories. The district is scheduled to complete its work by Nov. 1.
Contracts approved for disability housing
The Washington County Board approved contracts with two organizations recently to provide Group Residential Housing (GRH) to county residents.
S&B Comfort Home Health Care, doing business as Peaceful Lodge Customized Living, and Royal Age Assisted Living will provide housing to residents.
GRH is a state-funded income supplement program that pays for room and board costs for low-income adults with disabling conditions who have been placed in a licensed or registered setting that holds a formal agreement with a county. The current rate for GRH is $876 per person per month. GRH providers must provide housing, utilities, household furnishings, toiletries and food.
Peaceful Lodge purchased and renovated the AmericInn at 6300 Hudson Blvd. in Oakdale. Royal Age recently bought an assisted-living center in Cottage Grove.
University to study bees in county parks
The University of Minnesota will conduct a bee study at three Washington County parks — Big Marine Park Reserve, St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park and Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
Using a grant from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, researchers will conduct bee population surveys that include bee collection and species documentation, and habitat assessment.
Washington County often works with other agencies on natural resources research, such as a recently approved tick study. Funding will be from the University of Minnesota. No funding is requested from Washington County.
The University of Minnesota would like to share its findings with the County Board after the study.
Upgrades planned for archery range
The Washington County Board is working to receive a grant from the state Department of Natural Resources to pay for rehabilitating the archery range at Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
The board had to sign a conflict-of-interest policy and assure the DNR that it has adequate liability insurance. The DNR now will proceed with providing the $5,000 grant, the county said.
Waste, electronics will be collected
Washington County will conduct a household hazardous waste and electronics collection in Forest Lake on May 30.
The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Forest Lake Transit Center, 19955 Forest Rd. N.
Confidential document shredding will be available.
Also, two other dates have been set for confidential paper shredding at the Washington County Environmental Center: July 10 and Oct. 9.