Conservation group seeks funds for firm footing - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Conservation group seeks funds for firm footing

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - After seeing a successful land conservation committee take hold in Chippewa County, Eau Claire launched its own program in 2009.

However, they're still searching for full funding and now must find a new revenue stream to protect potential purchases.

"It's just solely on the interest of conserving our resources.," says Eau Claire County land conservation supervisor Kelly Jacobs.

A simple mission, based on a similar conservation group in a neighboring county, with one major difference.

"Unlike Chippewa County, we don't have sales tax supporting our program, but we can raise money here in the community," says stewardship member Duke Welter.

In other words, the Eau Claire County Land Stewardship needs your help to become a first-time land owner.

"If we can make some money to help us with this transaction that will be a great step forward for the program," says Welter.

The parcel of land up for sale is 160-acres near the Eau Claire River in the eastern end of the county.

"It's a little bit tricky in that you have to have some kind of seed funds to work from.  So we have developed brochures and asked for donations, but until we get that really good property to start off with, it's hard for people to picture what we're looking at," says Jacobs.

But being so close to owning that initial property has the group in high spirits.

"It's exciting to be making progress and having a goal of our first acquisition in sight," says Welter.

Once the first piece of property is secured it doesn't require a whole lot of additional money to keep the deed in hand.

"When we purchase a property with the stewardship program, it becomes Eau Claire County owned.  So it would not have any tax base associated with it," explains Jacobs.

Then the group can decide how to use and preserve the land for generations.

"It depends on the property, so we have the flexibility to be able to either manage it as a wildlife, manage it as a public resource, recreation area, even manage it as just a set aside natural area," says Jacobs.

Preserving it through non-profit support of those who love the outdoors.

To help spread the word and raise more money the stewardship is throwing a roast for local TV host Dave Carlson of Northland Adventures, May 20th.

More than 15 property owners have expressed interest in either selling or donating land to the stewardship in Eau Claire County.

If you'd like to attend the banquet, it's located at the Florian Gardens at 6 p.m. on the 20th.

Tickets are $50/single, $90/couple and $350/table, registration ends May 13th.

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