As you know, the Great Lakes are a crucial component of the economy in our region. A recent report by Michigan Sea Grant reports that more than 1.5 million jobs are directly connected to the Great Lakes, generating $62 billion in wages. Working to restore the health of our Great Lakes does more than benefit the environment it benefits our economy too.
Freshwater Future is an active participant in the Healing Our Waters Coalition (HOW), our Executive Director, Jill Ryan, has served as a cochair for several years. In addition, Freshwater Future administers the HOW grants program that recently invested $115,000 in nine projects this spring to help improve habitat, address pollution, and enhance Great Lakes Restoration Initiative efforts. Congratulations to the following and good luck with your efforts.
Western Lake Erie Priority Area
Winous Point Marsh Conservancy received funding for the Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area to develop a GIS-based decision support tool to assess phragmites control efforts to better direct future control efforts.
Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association received funding for a demonstration project to assess the use of Tile Bioreactors for removing soluble reactive phosphorus and nitrates from agricultural runoff that if successful could be used more widely to reduce nutrient pollution and the resulting algae growth in Western Lake Erie.
Eastern Lake Ontario Priority Area
Save Our Sodus will use HOW implementation funds to update nutrient loading data and prioritize phosphorus pollution sources to insure restorative strategies are successful.
Center for Environmental Information will use funding to identify pollution sources that are contributing to e-coli contamination and nutrient pollution Salmon Creek and the Pultneyville Harbor which is reducing opportunities for recreation.
Saginaw Bay Priority Area
Friends of the Shiawasee River received funding to do a feasibility study for removing the Owosso Dam and restore free-flowing conditions and fish movement.
Huron Pines has received a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to restore water quality and wildlife habitat for the Rifle River. HOW grant funds will be used to strengthen collaborative efforts and build long-term support for watershed protection.
Great Lakes Lifeways Institute has teamed up with several communities ( Bay, Arenac, Tuscola and Huron Counties) to develop a restoration plan to restore wild rice and remove invasive species in the coastal marshes of Saginaw Bay.
St. Louis Bay and River Priority Area
The Duluth Stream Corps project coordinated by Community Action Duluth has received a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to implement a variety of efforts to address the St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC or toxic hot spot). A grant from HOW will be used to reestablish over 20,000 native trees, shrubs and other plants in coldwater stream corridors and install measures to prevent predation by wildlife.
St. Louis River Alliance is engaged in two Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects that include restoring fish and wildlife habitat and increasing fish and wildlife populations within the St Louis River Estuary. Their HOW project will boost their capacity for work on these projects.