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Flowing water

Water flows from Lake Charleston into the Embarrass River because of higher water levels in the lake. The city of Charleston is purchasing property around the lake as a buffer to protect the watershed.

CHARLESTON -- City officials are interested in scooping up more property surrounding Lake Charleston to protect the water source.

City Council members will vote Tuesday to potentially OK the acquisition of 26.83 acres just north of the lake with a first option to buy another 6.97 acres owned by ICE LLC, according to the contract. 

The 26-plus acreage will cost $93,905. The city's anticipated purchase will be paid for with funding from the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation, a benefactor of majority of the development of the Lake Charleston tract.

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Curt Buescher, Charleston Public Works director, said this move is part an ongoing project for the city to protect the lake's watershed from runoff from surrounding land. 

Whether from septic systems, herbicide solutions or more development generally, private owners can make a big impact on the quality of the lake water. This move helps eliminate that as a possibility. 

Buescher said this has not really been an issue but these acquisitions prevent it from becoming the case. He stressed their efforts are precautionary. 

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The city owns most of what surrounds the lake including the southern, western and northwestern ends of the lake. 

Outside of establishing a buffer for the lake, the city has no immediate plans for what it might do with the land. 

"All I am concerned with is the watershed," Buescher said.

The city has been taking a more active role in revitalizing and also preserving the nature in and around the lake over the past few years, most recently with projects to protect the shoreline from erosion and to recoup the butterfly populations in the area. 

The lake has been a bigger focus for the city and its residents as the trail system around the Lake Charleston developed.

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City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of city hall, located at 520 Jackson Ave.

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Contact Jarad Jarmon at (217) 238-6839. Follow him on Twitter: @JJarmonReporter

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Reporter

Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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