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Douglas County among winners of environmental awards

Douglas County Forestry Committee is among the winners announced in the 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award program sponsored by the Binational Lake Superior group.

Douglas County Forestry Committee is among the winners announced in the 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award program sponsored by the Binational Lake Superior group.

The committee was honored in the municipality category for its efforts to preserve the Nemadji River Watershed.

The watershed contributes to the largest freshwater estuary on the Great Lakes.

In 2006, the county's forestry department completed the Douglas County Forest Comprehensive Land-Use Plan, which included a directive that called for the permanent protection of the Nemadji River riparian zone from any future development or habitat degradation.

When a 3,995-acre tract of undeveloped land with six miles of pristine river frontage became available for purchase, the Douglas County Forestry Committee worked very hard to negotiate with county officials and taxpayers to buy this land, and worked hard to inform them about the benefits of buying and protecting it.

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It wasn't an easy sell when county budgets are so tight.

Yet through the leadership, commitment, and dedication of Douglas County, its forestry department and dedicated committee members, the land was purchased in 2010 sparing it from future development. Now permanently owned by Douglas County, this piece of riparian land is protected and managed under a hardwood and boreal forest restoration plan.

Other area recipients of the award, which is given in six categories in the Canada and the United States include:

Individual award: Bob Krumenaker, superintendent of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Bayfield, has been a progressive and enthusiastic leader who moved climate change adaptation and mitigation concepts into public consciousness in the Great Lakes.

Business award: WITC-Ashland campus rain gardens impressed judges with a low-cost but effective solution to stormwater runoff.

Honorable Mention: Eric Schubring who hosts a weekly interview show about Lake Superior on WOJB Community Woodland Radio in Reserve, Wis., and the town of Bayfield, which created the Houghton Falls Nature Preserve.

This year all recipients are in the U.S. Three of the nine winners are in Wisconsin as are two honorable mention winners.

A public awards ceremony for the winners begins at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Barker's Island Pavilion during the free Lake Superior Day festival.

Related Topics: ENVIRONMENT
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