Lake Monroe Water Fund hires executive director, gears up to pursue funding

This article previously hosted on Indiana Environmental Reporter, written by Timberly Ferree, published on March 28, 2022

Lake Monroe Water Fund, the first organization of its kind in Indiana, has recently hired an executive director, and is gearing up to pursue funding.

Michelle Cohen, the new hire and LMWF’s first employee, brings 12 years of experience heading other environmental entities to the role, first as the Brown County Solid Waste Management district manager, and subsequently as the executive director for Circular Indiana, formerly known as Indiana Recycling Coalition.

The creation of this new position will allow for the pursuit of large-scale grants and other funding projects that reduce runoff pollution and protect the watershed, LMWF Board President Jane Martin said in a news release.

“Michelle is an experienced environmental executive who knows our watershed and our region as well as the state and federal grant authorities. We anticipate dramatic growth in our capabilities this year and beyond,” Martin said.

Lake Monroe, which was completed in 1965, was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be a 100-year drinking water source.

Protecting the watershed and extending its life is critical to area residents and the economic viability of Bloomington and the surrounding communities, Cohen said in the news release.

LMWF is a collaboration among The Nature Conservancy, city, county, nonprofit and other representatives. It provides an innovative way for downstream water users to invest in conservation activities upstream to protect and restore the Lake Monroe watershed. It is based on a new kind of model for sustaining watersheds that The Nature Conservancy employed with its first water fund in Quito, Ecuador in 2000, and is replicating across the globe.

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