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James River board approves funding for Cottonwood Lake and Sand Lake

ABERDEEN -- The shoreline restoration project at Cottonwood Lake near Redfield will receive a second grant of $50,000 and replacement of an impoundment structure at Sand Lake in northern Brown County will get $50,000 of assistance, the board of d...

ABERDEEN - The shoreline restoration project at Cottonwood Lake near Redfield will receive a second grant of $50,000 and replacement of an impoundment structure at Sand Lake in northern Brown County will get $50,000 of assistance, the board of directors for the James River Water Development District decided Thursday.

The board also gave the green light for its staff to assist on projects to reduce agricultural runoff in the Vermillion Basin Water Development District covering Clay and Turner counties.

A funding decision on nitrate testing kits was put off until a later date so a formal plan can take shape.

The board agreed the Cottonwood Lake shoreline project is making progress. Landowners make the decisions whether to participate, and the district's grant helps pay for approximately half of the cost, according to Jerry Eaton, one of the project's leaders.

He said riprap is being laid after trees have been removed and ground has been leveled. He said there are 136 landowners along the lake.

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James River District Manager Dave Bartel said there are about a half-dozen property owners who are interested in getting the work done.

"Property owners are very aware of what we cover and won't cover," Bartel said.

He said the project tends to sell itself.

"I can't foresee a lot more property owners that will step forward after this go-round," Bartel said.

No work has been performed with James River district funding on the portion of the shore that belongs to the state Game, Fish and Parks Department, he said.

The Sand Lake structure dates to the late 1980s and needs replacement, according to Randy Meidinger of Aberdeen, representing Ducks Unlimited.

He said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked whether Ducks Unlimited would like to participate in the project. The estimated total cost is about $110,000.

Meidinger said the federal agency is willing to provide $50,000, and Ducks Unlimited would give $10,000.

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The James River board agreed to contribute the other $50,000.

Meidinger said the 80-acre wetland helps with James River flood control, serves as wildlife habitat and offers outdoors recreation opportunities.

He said aluminum structures have three times the lifespan of a steel structure but cost more. He said the proposed aluminum structure could last 100 years.

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