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2013 Sustain Our Great Lakes Grants Announced

July 29, 2013
By Todd Hogrefe, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin – Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and members of the Great Lakes conservation community gathered at Discovery World today to announce 29 ecological restoration projects selected to receive $8.4 million in grant funding through the Sustain Our Great Lakes program.  More than $1.1 million of the grant funding will be awarded for six projects in Wisconsin.  With a focus on improving the quality and connectivity of tributary, wetland and coastal habitats, the new projects will help protect, restore and enhance the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes and surrounding region.

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 investments will help protect a valuable resource for Wisconsin - our Great Lakes,” said Senator Baldwin. “This public–private partnership will strengthen our environment and economy. I’m pleased to see the Sustain Our Great Lakes program moving forward with this broad-based support, and I am proud to be a partner in this effort.”

“Cities like Milwaukee have a huge stake in the Great Lakes.  They are central to our quality of life and economic well-being,” said Mayor Barrett.  “We are dedicated to rehabilitating Milwaukee’s water assets and ecological foundation and are deeply grateful to Sustain Our Great Lakes for its dedication to protecting the Great Lakes and for its generous support of ecological restoration projects in our region.”

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public–private partnership coordinated by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and funded by ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  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.

“For the past six years, ArcelorMittal has proudly been engaged in this dynamic partnership to protect and restore the Great Lakes, preserving its value as a resource to our economy, health and enjoyment,” said Bill Steers, President, ArcelorMittal USA Foundation. “The collaboration and on-the-ground impact realized through this partnership continues to exemplify our belief that conservation of the Great Lakes watershed is critical to sustaining the strong and vibrant communities that embody the heart of the region.”

“Supporting the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem directly benefits our wildlife, our water quality and our local economies,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants will help to protect and sustain the natural areas that are so precious to our communities.”

Collectively, the 29 new ecological restoration projects to be supported by Sustain Our Great Lakes will:

  • restore and enhance more than 7,600 acres of wetlands and associated uplands
  • restore fish passage and improve habitat along 107 stream miles
  • engage hundreds of private landowners in habitat enhancement

“This is great news for our fish and wildlife resources and the people of the Great Lakes basin,” said Charlie Wooley, Deputy Regional Director of the Midwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “The grants awarded this year allow for communities and partners to get involved at all levels.  From wild rice restoration in the St. Louis River (MN and WI) and fish passage restoration in the Menomonee River (WI) to riparian protection in the Genesee River (NY), the program brings together stakeholders from across the basin that are truly moving the conservation needle.”

The 2013 grants include (* denotes a multi-state project):


  • Friends of the Forest Preserves will control invasive species, stabilize streambanks, and re-seed native plants on 25 wetland acres and 1,150 feet of stream bank within the Plum Creek Forest Preserve in the Calumet Region ($161,004)
  • National Audubon Society will plant shrubs and trees to improve 13.5 acres and 4,800 feet of riparian stopover habitat for migratory birds at Ronan Park and Miami Woods, located in Chicago and Morton Grove, Illinois, respectively ($100,000)


  • Shirley Heinze Land Trust, Inc. will control invasive species, restore native riparian canopy cover, and re-forest surrounding uplands to restore 60 acres of habitat for several species of concern in northwestern Indiana ($30,000)


  • Conservation Resource Alliance will replace four road–stream crossings, stabilize stream channel, and place in-stream large woody debris in the Betsie and Platte River watersheds to restore fish access and habitat along 10 stream miles ($335,000)
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will work with NRCS to engage landowners in Farm Bill programs and provide technical assistance for habitat enhancement on approximately 4,000 acres ($56,913)
  • Huron Pines will stabilize stream banks, remove fish passage barriers, control invasive species, and install in-stream structures to reconnect 35 upstream miles and improve habitat within the Au Sable River watershed ($560,000)
  • Lake Superior State University and partners will conduct surveys, monitoring, nest protection, captive rearing and invasive species control to improve reproductive success and nesting habitat for the endangered Great Lakes piping plover ($150,000)
  • Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will provide technical assistance to farmers and implement on-farm conservation practices to reduce sediment and phosphorous inputs to the waters of the western Lake Erie basin ($152,000)
  • Regents of the University of Michigan will conduct prescribed burning, invasive species control, and native seed planting to restore 615 acres in southeastern Michigan that provide habitat for many rare and imperiled species ($164,222)
  • St. Clair County will design and construct 2.75 acres of coastal wetlands along the St. Clair River in Port Huron, Michigan to provide nursery habitat for fish and critical stopover habitat for migratory birds ($1,039,500)
  • The Nature Conservancy will restore 220 wetland acres by constructing/rehabilitating 3.6 miles of dikes and improving wetland management at Erie Marsh Preserve in southeastern Michigan ($957,176)
  • The Nature Conservancy will replace a culvert along John’s Creek in the Two-Hearted River watershed to restore fish passage to 2.7 miles and reduce sedimentation by 7 tons per year ($170,916)
  • The Nature Conservancy will conduct prescribed burns, control invasive species, and plant native vegetation to restore 240 acres of riparian habitat in the Paw Paw River watershed of southwestern Michigan ($158,936)


  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restore 3,700 feet of stream and riparian buffer to improve water quality, fish passage and habitat along Knowlton Creek, a tributary to the St. Louis River ($400,000)
  • Minnesota Land Trust will restore 150 acres of wild rice wetlands within the St. Louis River estuary of Minnesota and Wisconsin to improve habitat and re-establish opportunities for cultural harvest of wild rice ($159,504)*

New York

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will plant a minimum of 15,000 trees and shrubs through the “Trees for Tribs” program to restore 30,000 linear feet of riparian buffer along high-priority stretches of the Genesee River basin ($58,805)
  • Seneca Nation of Indians will plant native trees and shrubs, install in-stream structures for native fish, and replace a culvert to improve the quality and connectivity of 2 miles of stream habitat in the Cattaraugus Territory in western New York ($35,113)


  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History will control invasive species and plant native vegetation to restore 160 acres of wetland habitat within the Geneva Swamp Preserve on the eastern Lake Erie Plain ($38,509)
  • IPM Institute of North America will train NRCS-qualified Technical Service Providers and help farmers develop nutrient management plans to reduce phosphorous inputs to the waters of the western Lake Erie basin in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan ($233,974)*
  • The Nature Conservancy will manage hydrology, improve fish access, and control invasive species to restore 575 acres of wetland and associated upland habitat on Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Catawba Island ($1,406,658)
  • The Nature Conservancy will conduct prescribed burning and invasive species control to restore more than 1,000 acres of wetlands and associated uplands within the Lakeplain Oak Openings region in Ohio and Michigan ($810,160)*


  • Royal Botanical Gardens will control invasive Phragmites, plant 25,000 native wetland plants, re-establish wild rice, and operate carp exclusion structures to restore more than 5 acres of coastal habitat in Cootes Paradise Nature Reserve ($150,000)
  • Walpole Island First Nation will repair/maintain 2,300 yards of dike and control invasive species to improve hydrological connectivity, fish access, and habitat quality on the 171-acre Swan Lake Marsh along the St. Clair River in Ontario ($49,300)


  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will restore 2,000 feet of stream at four priority sites along Walnut Creek, a tributary to Lake Erie, to improve habitat and reduce sedimentation by an estimated 65–126 tons per year ($30,000)


  • Bad River Watershed Association will replace a perched culvert along Fred’s Creek within the Marengo River basin to help restore passage by trout and other native fish along 2 miles of the watershed ($25,171)
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District will remove five fish passage barriers along the Menomonee River to improve hydrologic function, aquatic connectivity and habitat along more than 34 stream miles ($400,000)
  • Ozaukee County will re-connect 2.8 stream miles by remediating eight impediments to fish passage on Mee-Kwon Creek and Kaul Creek in the Milwaukee River watershed ($180,373)
  • River Revitalization Foundation will stabilize streambank, remove shoreline structures, control invasive species, and restore native riparian habitat on a 3.3-acre site along the Milwaukee River to reduce pollutant loading and improve water quality ($247,489)
  • University of Wisconsin – Green Bay will control invasive Phragmites, remove accumulated sediment, and re-establish native beach vegetation to restore 91 acres of coastal wetlands on Pt. au Sable on the eastern shore of Green Bay ($126,150)
  • Minnesota Land Trust will restore 150 acres of wild rice wetlands within the St. Louis River estuary of Minnesota and Wisconsin to improve habitat and re-establish opportunities for cultural harvest of wild rice ($159,504)* [also shown under MN heading]

For more information on the 2013 Sustain Our Great Lakes grants, please contact Todd Hogrefe, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, at 612-564-7286 or

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a bi-national, public-private partnership that sustains, restores and protects fish, wildlife and habitat in the Great Lakes basin by leveraging funding, building conservation capacity, and focusing partners and resources toward key ecological issues.

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