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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $567,008 In Restoration Projects In Great Lakes States
Region 9, September 21, 2005

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced grants totaling $567,008 to fund fish and wildlife restoration projects in the Great Lakes basin. The projects will be funded under authority of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 1998, which provides assistance to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, states, tribes and other interested entities to encourage cooperative conservation, restoration and management of fish and wildlife resources and their habitat in the Great Lakes basin.

Project funds will go to Michigan State University, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Northern Illinois University, the University of Michigan and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The seven approved projects focus primarily on the rehabilitation of sustainable populations of fish and other aquatic species, and include the study of various aspects of their reproduction, distribution, movement, diet and habitat use within the Great Lakes ecosystem.

For example, one project will investigate the responses of lake trout and Chinook salmon to unprecedented declines in major prey fish abundance in Lake Huron; another will use stream-side rearing facilities to restore lake sturgeon in the Manitowoc River, a tributary of Lake Michigan; another will examine demographic responses of the threatened Lake Erie watersnake to the presence of invasive round gobies; and another will identify potential pheromones important for lake trout restoration.

Project proposals are developed and sponsored each year by tribes and states in the Great Lakes in response to a request for proposals from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Council of Lake Committees, a 21-member body representing state, tribal and Canadian provincial agencies, recommends proposals for funding to the Director of the Service.

The Service contributes up to 75 percent of the cost of the projects, with matching funds this year coming from Michigan State University, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Northern Illinois University, the University of Michigan and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. "The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act is an important tool for restoring fish and wildlife populations and their habitat within the Great Lakes basin," said Gerry Jackson, Assistant Regional Director for Fisheries for the Fish and Wildlife Service's Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region. "The act provides essential resources for working with others to address some of the complex restoration challenges that we face."  

When it was passed, the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act authorized $4.5 million annually for state and tribal grants through 2004. Funds to continue activities under the act have been provided in 2005, and the act is currently being considered for reauthorization.

Since 1998, 65 restoration projects totaling close to $6 million, including $3.3 million in federal funds, have been implemented. More than 60 organizations have contributed matching funds and expertise.

Projects have focused on rehabilitation of fishery resources and aquatic habitat to benefit species such as lake trout, walleye, yellow perch, brook trout, lake sturgeon and freshwater mussels. One of the most important outcomes of funded projects has been the development of state-of-the-art geographic information systems that will eventually cover the entire Great Lakes basin and allow agencies to better prioritize and focus restoration activities.

The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act has been key in building partnerships among state, federal, tribal and provincial agencies for cooperative conservation, enhancement and restoration of Great Lakes fish and wildlife resources and their habitat. It has fueled existing resource management partnerships coordinated through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and opened up new possibilities for international coordination.

Project and funds recipients for 2005 are: 

Responses of lake trout and Chinook salmon to unprecedented declines in major prey fish abundance in Lake Huron, Michigan State University 

Lake sturgeon rehabilitation using stream-side rearing facilities in Manitowoc River, a tributary of Lake Michigan, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Models of lake herring population dynamics in Lake Superior: implications for restoration in the lower Great Lakes, Michigan State University

Lake Erie watersnake recovery plan implementation: demographic responses to invasive round gobies, Northern Illinois University

Development of a GIS for Great Lakes aquatic habitat: Lakes Superior and Ontario, University of Michigan

Identification of potential pheromones important for lake trout reproduction, Michigan State University

Quality assurance of proposal development and peer review process, Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

Since 1871, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program has played a vital role in conserving and managing native fish and other aquatic resources. The Fisheries Program focuses its efforts on achieving its long-term strategic vision of protecting the health of aquatic habitats, restoring fish and other aquatic species, and providing opportunities for the American public to enjoy the benefits of healthy aquatic resources.

For more information about the Fisheries Program, go to http://fisheries.fws.gov.

No contact information available. Please contact Charles Traxler, 612-713-5313, charles_traxler@fws.gov