Monday, April 21, 2008

Land Trust Adding Value At Rapid Rate

The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust has made great strides in recent days, closing a deal to turn the privately-owned 142-acre Squires Country Club and golf course - - with a view of Lake Michigan into conserved land, with public access, and working with state and MMSD funds to put the prized Mequon ravine described below into the public domain.

This is exactly how the state's Stewardship fund is supposed to work in partnership with land trust and other agencies - - so hats off again to Gov. Jim Doyle and the grassroots support he garnered to convince the state legislature to strengthen and expand the Fund.

And the often-maligned MMSD gets credit, too, because its forward-looking Greenseams program stabliizes shorelines and keeps stormwater from degrading lakes, waterways and their banks.

It's a coordinated, coherent, comprehensive effort and exactly the kind of Earth Day activity that will pay dividends for generations.

The only negative word I heard about the bald eagle habitat/Mequon easement purchase came from Mark Belling last week, but that can only mean is that the easement purchase is a winner, and we need more of them.

Story text:

MONDAY, April 21, 2008, 2:09 p.m.By Don Behm
MMSD OKs Mequon shoreline easement

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's commission this morning approved spending $600,000 to acquire a conservation easement prohibiting development of 23-acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Mequon that is home to a nesting pair of bald eagles.

MMSD's Greenseams land conservation program would purchase the easement and become a partner with the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust in preserving the wooded ravine and bluff a few miles north of the Milwaukee County line.

Greenseams buys floodplains and environmental corridors, also known as greenways, in the district's service area.The appraised value of the property, known locally as the Donges Bay gorge, exceeds $3.5 million.

In addition to the MMSD easement acquisition, the land trust is seeking a $1.75 million grant from the state Stewardship conservation fund as well as private contributions and foundation grants to pay for the land purchase.

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