The Honorable Steven LaTourette and members of the Great Lakes conservation community gathered at Lake Erie Bluffs today to announce 34 ecological restoration projects selected to receive $8.2 million in grant funding through the Sustain Our Great Lakesprogram.
With a focus on improving the quality and connectivity of tributary, wetland and coastal habitats, the 34 selected projects will help protect, restore and enhance the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes and surrounding region.
“The Great Lakes are a treasure not only to our region and state, but the whole country,” said Representative LaTourette (R-Ohio). “These are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, and hold 90 percent of our nation’s supply of fresh surface water. Protecting the Great Lakes is critical not just to continue providing water to local communities, but also to support ongoing local and national economic growth. I’m thrilled to be a part of the announcement of these grants, which will help us maintain that effort, and I thank the Sustain Our Great Lakes partners for their great work in evaluating these projects.”
Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public–private partnership coordinated by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and funded by ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The program also receives significant grant funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem.
“Sustain Our Great Lakes is emblematic of the bigger effort to save the Great Lakes. It’ll happen community by community, beach by beach, mile by mile,” said Cameron Davis, who as senior advisor counsels EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in coordinating 16 federal and bi-national agencies in implementing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Some of the work to be supported by the new grants includes improving passage for fish and other aquatic organisms, controlling invasive species, restoring wetland hydrology, improving stream habitat, and providing technical assistance to private landowners who want to improve wildlife habitat on their property.
“These grants will help generate important ecological, economic and social benefits,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). “By making wildlife populations healthier, improving water quality and supporting local jobs, this work will result in a better quality of life for the people of the Great Lakes basin.”
“ArcelorMittal is proud to support these grant recipients and programs dedicated to protecting and restoring the Great Lakes watershed,” said Heather Loebner, Executive Director, Corporate Responsibility, ArcelorMittal. “Working together, we will help keep this resource healthy for future generations, and build a sustainable future for the Great Lakes region.”
The 2012 grants include:
- Alger Conservation District will: 1) replace four culverts to restore fish passage to 15 stream miles and 2) conduct control of purple loosestrife on 14 acres in Alger and Marquette Counties ($150,000)
- City of Rochester will restore natural morphology and riparian vegetation along 3,500 feet of Paint Creek in Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve and Municipal Park within the Clinton River Area of Concern ($750,000)
- Common Coast Research & Conservation and partners will control invasive species and plant native vegetation to restore more than 30 acres of coastal stopover habitat for migratory birds along Portage Bay in Escanaba ($50,940)
- Conservation Resource Alliance will remove impounded sediment to minimize stream degradation that could occur from its downstream movement following the planned removal of Brown Bridge dam ($150,000)
- Conservation Resource Alliance and partners will control phragmites and other invasive species to improve habitat on 1,400 acres and 7,000 feet of shoreline on six islands in the Beaver Island Archipelago ($368,646)
- Huron Pines Resource Conservation & Development Area Council, Inc. will work with private landowners and other partners to restore 12 miles of aquatic connectivity, improve 150 acres of wetlands, and improve water quality in the northern Saginaw Bay watershed ($693,000)
- Huron Pines Resource Conservation & Development Area Council, Inc. will provide technical assistance to approximately 300 private landowners to help optimize wildlife conservation on roughly 4,000 acres of private lands across the northern Lower Peninsula ($522,000)
- Macomb County Public Works Office will remove an in-stream barrier and stabilize stream banks to restore 10 miles of connectivity and improve habitat along the North Branch Clinton River ($32,500)
- Michigan Sea Grant will construct a reef in the Detroit River to create nearly a hectare of spawning habitat for lake sturgeon, walleye and other fish within the Detroit River Area of Concern ($799,226)
- Regents of the University of Michigan will control invasive species and conduct prescribed burns on 250 acres of floodplain, fen and adjacent upland habitat along Fleming Creek ($112,348)
- Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy and partners will control invasive phragmites to restore 101 acres, 11,700 linear feet of stream bank, and 10,100 linear feet of coastal habitat along Saginaw Bay ($150,000)
- Upper Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council and partners will control invasive phragmites to restore and enhance 400 acres of coastal shoreline and wetlands in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan ($458,160)
For more information on the 2012 Sustain Our Great Lakes grants, please contact Todd Hogrefe, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, at 612-564-7286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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