Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance is laying the groundwork to fund changes



Some facts about the Lake of the Ozarks may be in debate. One is not. It’s a priceless resource we can’t afford to squander.
That’s the mantra of the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance.
LOWA, a not-for-profit watershed alliance pledged to protect the lake, is laying the groundwork to fund changes that will be needed to ensure that the priceless treasure stays healthy.
LOWA’s efforts coincide with a movement by civic and business leaders who have recently initiated a campaign to promote the overall health of the lake. 
“Each of us is doing our part of the big picture that is needed to finally begin to address the wastewater issue before it becomes a real problem,” said Donna Swall, Executive Director of the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance Inc.
 Swall said as the Lake’s 501.c.3 not-for-profit watershed alliance, LOWA has been tasked with developing a watershed management plan for the Lake of the Ozarks.
A watershed management plan, once submitted and approved by Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), then allows area civic groups, organizations, municipalities, and local governmental agencies to write grant requests and seek funding for a variety of clean water projects, she said.
“Some grants require the participation of a 501.c.3 organization like LOWA, and some do not. LOWA is always ready and available to help anyone pursuing clean water projects,” she said. “LOWA currently is pursuing two major clean water projects for the Lake of the Ozarks.”
Swall said the first is geared toward what individual citizens and businesses can do to help keep the lake beautiful, healthy and vibrant.
The other LOWA project addresses the wastewater issue by proposing a lake-wide regional coordinating council to help individuals, municipalities, property owner associations, and others manage their wastewater effectively, efficiently, and at the lowest cost possible. 
LOWA recognizes the solution will involve multiple approaches to treating wastewater, as well as multiple sources of funding, Swall said.
The Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Management Plan, written by LOWA, lays the foundation for funding, and 30 years of studies have laid the foundation for need, she said.
“The business and civic communities have done their part in helping the public understand the science about E. coli, and LOWA is providing the groundwork for funding the projects that will keep the Lake healthy into the future,” Swall said.  “We all are doing our parts, and by working together we are ensuring that the Lake of the Ozarks will continue to be a safe and healthy premiere vacation spot, as well as a great place to live, work, and retire.”
LOWA is appreciative that business and civic leaders have pledged their support to do whatever is needed to keep the Lake of the Ozarks vibrant and healthy, she said.
The Citizens for the Preservation of Lake of the Ozarks is the group of local business leaders formed to promote water quality at the lake. 
Warren Witt of AmerenUE and a member of the citizens committee said the business community is very interested in discussing ways to improve the waste water treatment processes at the Lake of the Ozarks as well as the other initiatives in LOWA’s watershed management plan. 
“We appreciate LOWA’s efforts to pursue funding options from various government programs to assist the community in funding some of these improvements,” he said.  “It is definitely in our best interest and the best interest of generations to come to maintain the water quality of our valuable resource that is the Lake of the Ozarks.”
On the web
For more information, visit LOWA’s Web site at www.soslowa.org.