Newsroom Midwest Region

July 27, 2016

Rick Westerhof, 231 584-3553,
Katie Steiger-Meister, 612-713-5317,

Service awards $1.58 million for fish and wildlife restoration in the Great Lakes basin

Blanding's turtle. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.
Blanding's turtle. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that $1.58 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. One regional project and seven research and restoration grant projects funded will provide $535,234 in non-federal partner match contributions.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to a collaborative vision for conservation in the Midwest Region envisioned in the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act. In the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, I am pleased that we can continue to support the valuable work of our partners through this legislation,” said the Service’s Midwest Regional Director, Tom Melius.

Since 1998, the Restoration Act has provided more than $24.4 million dollars in federal funding to 157 research and restoration projects. When combined with required matching funds, this equals to more than $36.1 million worth of benefits to Great Lakes fish, wildlife and the habitats they depend on. More than 100 organizations have contributed more than $11.7 million in matching non-federal partner support. 2016 funded projects include:

Regional Project

  • Restoring Fish Passage and Coastal Wetlands on Lakes St Clair and Erie – Phase 1, Ducks Unlimited, $559,177.

Research and Restoration Grant Projects

  • Status and Population Viability Assessment of the Blanding’s Turtle Within the Chiwaukee – Illinois Beach Lake Plain, Northern Illinois University, $111,002.

  • Spawning Site Contribution and Movements of Lake Whitefish in Northwestern Lake Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, $276,962.

  • Maximizing Capture of Lake Sturgeon and Other Species in the Fish Elevator on the Menominee River, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, $191,346.

  • Maumee River Lake Sturgeon Acclimation Facility, The Toledo Zoo, $92,130.

  • Conservation and Management of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) in the Western Great Lakes, University of Minnesota, $118,508.

  • Genetic Origin and Movements of Lake Sturgeon in the St. Louis River and Western Lake Superior, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, $180,693.

  • Proportional Contribution of River and Reef Spawned Lake Whitefish (Coregonus Clupeaformis) Based on Otolith Microchemistry in Green Bay, WI, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, $54,453.

The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act is a powerful tool to help support research and conservation in the Great Lakes Basin. It is in part supported by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which provided $1.22 million in 2016 funding.

Following, a sample of grant recipients explain their projects and how funding will be used on-the-ground:

“Ducks Unlimited relies on the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act as an invaluable resource to protect and restore wetlands,” said David Brakhage, Ducks Unlimited Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Director.

“The coastal restoration projects at St. John’s Marsh in Michigan and Toussaint Wildlife Area in Ohio are examples of conservation benefiting not only waterfowl and wildlife habitat but also recreational opportunities for people.”

“Dams reduce connectivity and habitat access on many Great Lakes tributaries, limiting the recovery of lake sturgeon and negatively influencing other migratory fishes. Our research will greatly increase understanding of factors that influence successful captures in a fish elevator and lake sturgeon behaviors as they approach and use upstream and downstream passage structures on the Menominee River, Wisconsin” said Joshua Raabe, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.  

For more information on the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, including how to apply for funding, please visit

For more information on the Service’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded projects, please visit