The first reason is geography. Any efforts to improve surface and ground water must focus on the Lake County watershed, which in rough terms approximates the boundaries of Lake County.
Second, the government entity is already in place that can apply for, and accept, federal grants to help pay for the projects.
Third, the county commission members are a diverse set, including people who live in the city, at a lake, in the country and so on. They are knowledgeable about local water issues and can make sound decisions about which path to take.
Fourth, experienced partners are available. The lake associations have decades of experience working on water quality issues, the sanitary districts are right in the middle of the action, and the city of Madison staff has knowledge and resources to draw upon [Jon Hunter, "Who Should Take the Lead for Better Water? Lake County," Madison Daily Leader, 2009.09.01].
That's one of the most logical things I've heard our man Hunter say this year. I might quibble only with one point: our sanitary districts are restricted by statute from being in "the middle of the action" on water quality projects (though I'm working on changing that!). Otherwise, Hunter makes a great case. Our county commission is positioned to do what no other taxing and governing agency in our county can do: take action that will benefit nearly the entire watershed at a shot. The only improvement on county action would be to see the Legislature take a more active role in water quality.
Of course, if we add new duties to the county's plate, we need to find money to support that action. At the very least, we might have to extend hours for someone in the auditor's or treasurer's office to write those grant applications and administer the money. I'm not worried on the fiscal side, though. If we can find $25,000 for the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, we can find another $25,000 to pay for actual improvement of our lakes and streams.
Jon, heck of an idea. County Commission, run with it!