The Whitefish Area Property Owners Association encourages lakeshore owners who are interested in improving water quality and shoreline wildlife habitat to participate in the 10th annual WAPOA Shoreline Restoration Award Program.

Eligible participants must have a lakeshore on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes or on one of the 39 lakes on which WAPOA conducts water quality testing. This program can provide expert advice, together with WAPOA's award, to help complete restoration projects. Applicants will compete for a combined potential award of up to $20,000, depending on the merits of projects submitted. Multiple applicants are anticipated. Previous winners have won awards of up to $3,800.

An informational open house is scheduled for 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant in Crosslake. Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District and WAPOA, along with landscape designers and contractors, will be there with handouts and to answer questions about water quality and proposed shoreline restoration projects.

WAPOA will contribute $100 to each registered applicant attending the open house. That will be paid to SWCD for a representative (subject to their availability) to meet with the applicant at their property to evaluate restoration possibilities.

All interested qualified lakeshore owners who attend and register at the open house, and who are not presently a member of WAPOA, will receive a free one-year 2018 membership ($40 value) to WAPOA. Door prizes will be drawn for applicants who register at the open house.

Project site plan and details must be submitted to WAPOA by email for review on or before Saturday, July 7. Incomplete proposals will be returned to the applicant with an option to add missing information and resubmit prior to the scheduled presentation date Thursday, July 19.

All materials are required to be biodegradable (bio-engineered), and all plants shall be native to the area and source identified, and all work shall be completed by Oct. 31 of 2018 or 2019. This gives the applicant two construction seasons (2018 and 2019) to complete the restoration.

One shoreland restoration sign shall be placed along the shoreline facing the lake by the applicant for two years from the start of construction, and the applicant may keep the sign.

WAPOA funding may not be available if another grant is also used for this project. The applicant must provide a minimum of 25 percent cash or in-kind applicant volunteer labor (presently valued at $20 per hour) match of amount awarded value (3 to 1 match). Applicants shall be solely responsible for obtaining any required governmental permits relating to their proposed project, including the costs and/or fees associated with such permits. Maintenance of the funded project is the responsibility of the landowner for a period of ten years. If the project is altered, not maintained or replaced with sod or other non-native material, the applicant/landowner will be subject to penalty.

Contact Brian Olson, WAPOA's director of shoreland management, to arrange application submission and with any questions at 612-309-1784 or brian@terraincorp.net. Information is also available at www.wapoa.org.