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Sustain Our Great Lakes Program Announces $12 Million in Grants for Great Lakes Restoration

September 9, 2014
By Todd Hogrefe, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 612-564-7286 or 612-716-4089

Sustain Our Great Lakes Program Announces $12 Million in Grants for Great Lakes Restoration Public–private partnership funds 31 projects in seven states and one Canadian province, enabling $23

Grand Rapids, MI–Today, Sustain Our Great Lakes partners announced 31 projects selected by the program to receive nearly $12 million in grant funding for ecological restoration in the Great Lakes basin. With a focus on improving the quality and connectivity of stream, wetland and coastal habitats, this investment will help protect, restore and enhance the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes and surrounding region. Grant recipients will match the new grant funding with an additional $11 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $23 million.

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public–private partnership that supports habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes basin. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the program receives funding and other support from ArcelorMittal, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A significant portion of program funding is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem. Since 2006, Sustain Our Great Lakes has awarded 226 grants worth $49.1 million, which has leveraged $49.3 million in matching contributions, for a total investment of $98.4 million.

“This program is the premier public–private partnership and is getting results for the lakes that we all love,” said Cameron Davis, who as senior advisor counsels EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in coordinating 16 federal and bi-national agencies in implementing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“ArcelorMittal is proud to be an engaged and active supporter of Sustain Our Great Lakes,” said Bill Steers, General Manager, Communications and Corporate Responsibility at ArcelorMittal. “While Sustain Our Great Lakes’ achievements in ecological restoration have been significant and impactful, the success of this public–private partnership model is equally impressive. By leveraging the unique strengths of each partner, we maximize the quality of on-the-ground restoration work to advance the habitatrestoration and sustainability needs of communities throughout the basin.”

“The 31 grants we announce today represent the largest amount of funding for the Sustain Our Great Lakes program in its history and will have a significant impact on protecting and sustaining the natural areas in the Great Lakes ecosystem,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “The support provided by these grants toward the improvement of the health of the Great Lakes provides a terrific benefit for wildlife, water quality and local economies.”

Collectively, the 31 new ecological restoration projects funded by Sustain Our Great Lakes in 2014 will:

  • Restore and enhance more than 1,700 acres of wetlands and associated uplands
  • Restore fish passage and improve habitat along nearly 300 stream miles
  • Control invasive species on more than 16,000 acres

“The Sustain Our Great Lakes program represents a tremendous public–private partnership that serves to enhance conservation in the Great Lakes,” said Charlie Wooley, Midwest Deputy Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. “The high caliber of the projects awarded funding in 2014, from habitat restoration to invasive species control, gives me confidence that the Great Lakes will continue to be one of our country’s greatest natural treasures.”

The following grants will be made to conservation organizations and public agencies in seven states and one Canadian province (award amounts in parentheses).


Calhoun Conservation District will replace two road–stream crossings to reconnect 11.6 miles of stream habitat in the Pigeon Creek watershed with the Kalamazoo River system ($168,354)

Conservation Resource Alliance will replace five road–stream crossings, remove an impediment to fish passage, and install woody debris structures to reconnect 48 stream miles, improve fish habitat, and reduce sediment inputs in the Maple River watershed($558,000)

Conservation Resource Alliance will remove the high-hazard Boardman Dam to reconnect and restore coldwater stream habitat, contributing to a multi-phase project that will restore connectivity to 160 miles of the Boardman River in northwestern Michigan ($1,500,000)

Huron Pines will replace three culverts to reconnect nine miles of the Black River with Lake Huron and provide stream access for coaster brook trout and other lake-run fish ($32,053)

Huron Pines will replace five road–stream crossings, install large wood in-stream structures, and control invasive plants to reconnect 20 upstream miles, reduce sediment inputs, and improve fish habitat in the Cheboygan River watershed ($470,392)

Michigan Department of Natural Resources will remove hardened shoreline along 350 feet of the Detroit River and construct an associated breakwater to provide protected shallow-water habitat for larval fish and amphibians ($800,000)

Niles City will remove the unsafe Pucker Street Dam on the Dowagiac River and conduct associated channel/floodplain restoration and sediment management to improve 159 miles of coldwater stream habitat ($250,000)

Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited will install wood structures and remove dam remnants along five coldwater streams to reduce sediment inputs and improve habitat for brook trout and other fish ($149,000)

The Nature Conservancy-Michigan will survey and control invasive species at 50 sites encompassing 11,000 acres to improve the quality of coastal dune and wetland habitat along the 505-mile shoreline of eastern Lake Michigan ($495,380)

Trout Unlimited will replace five culverts and conduct in-stream habitat projects to restore 45miles of coldwater stream habitat in northwestern Michigan ($176,880)

Visit to learn more about the funded projects and to find more information on the Sustain Our Great Lakes program, including applicant eligibility, funding priorities, and submission requirements.

Follow the program on Facebook and Twitter (@SOGL) to keep up withthe latest Great Lakes news and program announcements.


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