Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Midwest Region, August 6, 2004
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the granting of $566,256 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.

The nine approved projects focus primarily on the rehabilitation of sustainable fish populations and include the study of various species of fish, their reproduction, distribution, movement, diet and habitat use within the Great Lakes ecosystem.

For example, one project will examine the population dynamics and biology of the siscowet strain of lake trout in Lake Superior; another project will develop genetic management guidelines for lake sturgeon; another will assess the status of aquatic habitat in the Lake Huron-Lake St. Clair-Lake Erie corridor; and another will test a potential new method for treating ballast water to prevent the transport of invasive aquatic species.

Project proposals are developed and sponsored by Tribes and States in the Great Lakes region each year in response to a request for proposals from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Service. The Council of Lake Committees, a 21-member body representing State, Tribal and Canadian Provincial agencies, recommends proposals for funding to the Service Director.

Project funds will go to Michigan State University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the University of California-Davis, Ohio State University, the University of Maryland-Center for Environmental Science and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The Service contributes up to 75 percent of the cost of the projects, with matching funds this year coming from Michigan State University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Michigan DNR, the Wisconsin DNR, Ohio State University, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the University of Maryland and the Ohio DNR.

?The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act provides us with powerful and effective tools for the Service and its partners to address the environmental challenges facing the Great Lakes,? said Gerry Jackson, Assistant Regional Director for Fisheries for the Fish and Wildlife Service's Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region. ?Through the Act we can help strengthen fish and wildlife conservation programs in the Great Lakes basin.?

When it was passed, the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act authorized $4.5 million annually for State and Tribal grants through 2004. Since 1998, 58 restoration projects totaling more than $5 million, including $2.8 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 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 are:

· Dynamics and biology of siscowet lake trout in Lake Superior--Michigan State University

· Lake trout reproduction at Mid-Lake Reef--University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

· Biophysical model of Lake Erie walleye recruitment--Michigan State University

· Quality control of proposals--Great Lakes Fishery Commission

· Development of genetic management guidelines for lake sturgeon--University of California, Davis

· Huron-Erie corridor system habitat assessment--The Ohio State University

· Food habits of Lake Ontario offshore prey fish--Great Lakes Fishery Commission

· Evaluations of pilot-scale venturi oxygen stripping to prevent ballast water invasions--University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

· Assessment of pit tags for estimating exploitation of walleyes in Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay--Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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