Restoring the Great Lakes: Success Stories from the 2016 Field Season

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Restoring the Great Lakes: Success Stories from the 2016 Field Season

We are now seven years into our Great Lakes Restoration Initiative adventure and with that achievement comes the seventh edition of Restoring the Great Lakes. Through our 2016 interagency agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received more than $44 million to support new and ongoing Great Lakes restoration projects. As always, it is our pleasure to share with you how the funding supported us in our conservation efforts. What we and our partners have accomplished in such a short amount of time is nothing short of miraculous.

What do these miracles look like? There is no better example than the Great Lakes piping plover. A few decades ago the small and charming shorebird hovered on the edge of extinction with only a handful of mating pairs left in the world. Too long neglected, the story of the piping plover resembled the larger story of the Great Lakes. In the absence of coordinated and sustained stewardship actions, we stood to lose a lot. The emergence of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2010 was a game-changer for us, our partners and the piping plover. In lean budget times it allowed us to fast track needed dollars to the field to protect and restore the majesty of the Great Lakes region for the people, plants and wildlife who call it “home.”

Today piping plover populations are on a steady rise. After a 30 year absence, a pair of piping plovers successfully nested on New York’s Lake Ontario shoreline in 2015. In 2016, a breeding pair of piping plovers was found nesting in lower Green Bay in Wisconsin, and another in Wilderness State Park in Michigan. Each camouflaged nest sits on a sandy beach restored with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. There is still a lot of work to be done, but these types of successes keep us going.

Whether you live near or far, we invite you out to our national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries to learn more about the work that we do and the people who make it happen. Our Great Lakes Restoration Initiative supported projects in the Great Lakes reflect the passion and the hard work of our staff. Come witness it for yourself

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Public Domain
Subject tags
Habitat restoration
Wildlife restoration
FWS and DOI Region(s)