FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2013
Katie Steiger-Meister, 612-713-5317
Mark Holey, 920-866-1720 or Brian Elkington 612-713-5168
Service Awards More Than $1.14 million for Fish and Wildlife Restoration in the Great Lakes Basin
An example of a project funded in a previous year, this helicopter applies a treatment to inhibit the growth of invasive plants to help to restore biodiveristy in monoculture stands and improve habitat conditions. Photo courtesy of Ducks Unlimited.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today more than $1.14 million in federal funding has been awarded under the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act grant program to restore sustainable populations of fish and wildlife resources, and their habitats, in the Great Lakes Basin. The five projects funded will provide almost $430,000 in non-federal partner match contributions.
“The diversity of these projects will allow for a broad range of benefits to fish and wildlife resources across the Great Lakes Basin,” said Tom Melius, Midwest Regional Director. The projects include improving stream connectivity in the Boardman River Watershed in northern Michigan, restoring and conserving shoreline and riparian habitat in the Lake Michigan basin, and lake trout and lake sturgeon research to inform ongoing restoration work.
The Act is the primary federal program dedicated to restoring important fish and wildlife, and the habitat they depend on in the Great Lakes region. Funding for the Act was increased in 2013 by $1.5 million through President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Act promotes cooperative conservation, restoration and management of native fish and wildlife resources, and their habitat in the Great Lakes Basin among states, tribes, other interested entities and the Service.
“The Act has been a great program to encourage cooperative conservation, rehabilitation and management of the fish and wildlife resources and their habitat in the Great Lakes Basin,” said Cathy Stepp, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “Wisconsin is grateful to have two evaluation projects focused on Green Bay funded, including sturgeon passage on the Menominee River and the effectiveness of phragmites control to restore Green Bay coastal wetlands.”
Since 1998, through the Act, more than $19.1 million dollars in federal funding has been used to fund 129 restoration projects. When combined with required matching funds, this equates to more than $28 million worth of benefits to Great Lakes fish, wildlife and the habitats they depend on. More than 70 organizations have contributed more than $8.9 million in matching non-federal partner support.
“The 2013 funds provided by the Act are critical to the planning and removal of the 2nd and 3rd dams on the Boardman River near Traverse City, Michigan,” said Amy Beyer, Director of the Conservation Resource Alliance, who serves as the project manager for the Boardman River Dams Implementation Team. Beyer says, “When it is restored and re-connected, the Boardman will be one of the highest quality cold water streams in the Great Lakes, and this project is a top priority for the state, tribes, and the local community. All of us appreciate the Service’s vital role as a federal partner on this project.”
Projects approved for funding include:
BOARDMAN DAM REMOVAL PROJECT: BOARDMAN AND SABIN REMOVAL
Once complete, the Boardman Dams Project will result in the removal of three dams, the re-connection of 160 miles of natural river channel, and restoration of 253 acres of wetland habitat on the Boardman River, a premier cold water stream and state-designated Natural River that provides vital recreational and economic benefits to the region located near Traverse City, Michigan.
IDENTIFICATION OF FISH ORIGIN FOR UNMARKED LAKE TROUT IN LAKE MICHIGANUSING OTOLITH CHEMISTRY
This project will use otolith chemistry to identify the origin(s) of unmarked lake trout captured in Lake Michigan during fall spawning assessments. The project’s results will help managers evaluate lake trout restoration efforts.
MOVEMENTS OF LAKE STURGEON AFTER UPSTREAM PASSAGE THROUGH TWO DAMS ON THE MENOMINEE RIVER
This project investigates if lake sturgeon that pass above the two lowest dams on the Menominee River have the opportunity to spawn in the river section where they were released before passing back downstream. This research will provide information needed to develop lake sturgeon passage strategies that maximize recruitment potential.
RIPARIAN HABITAT RESTORATION IN THE LOWER GRAND RIVER
This project will restore shoreline habitat in the Lower Grand River by planting wild rice and controlling invasive phragmites infestations that directly threaten its wetland habitat. This innovative project will use seed of the threatened species of wild rice instead of the traditional projects that use Zizania palustris.
LAKE MICHIGAN - GREEN BAY COASTAL PROTECTION AND RESTORATION
This project expands on the work initiated to control phragmites in northeast Wisconsin, and will conduct monitoring and follow-up herbicide treatment of 4,841 acres and initial control of 175 acres along 118 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.
For more information on the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, including how to apply for funding, please visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/fisheries/glfwra-grants.html.
For more information on the Service’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded projects, please visit www.fws.gov/GLRI.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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