GRAND RAPIDS, MI, MICH., Sept. 9, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Sustain Our Great Lakes partners announced 31 projects selected by the program to receive nearly $12 million in grant funding for ecological restoration in the Great Lakes basin. With a focus on improving the quality and connectivity of stream, wetland and coastal habitats, this investment will help protect, restore and enhance the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes and surrounding region. Grant recipients will match the new grant funding with an additional $11 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $23 million.
Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public–private partnership that supports habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes basin. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the program receives funding and other support from ArcelorMittal, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A significant portion of program funding is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem. Since 2006, Sustain Our Great Lakes has awarded 226 grants worth $49.1 million, which has leveraged $49.3 million in matching contributions, for a total investment of $98.4 million.
"This program is the premier public–private partnership and is getting results for the lakes that we all love," said Cameron Davis, who as senior advisor counsels EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in coordinating 16 federal and bi-national agencies in implementing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
"ArcelorMittal is proud to be an engaged and active supporter of Sustain Our Great Lakes," said Bill Steers, General Manager, Communications and Corporate Responsibility at ArcelorMittal. "While Sustain Our Great Lakes' achievements in ecological restoration have been significant and impactful, the success of this public–private partnership model is equally impressive. By leveraging the unique strengths of each partner, we maximize the quality of on-the-ground restoration work to advance the habitat restoration and sustainability needs of communities throughout the basin."
"The 31 grants we announce today represent the largest amount of funding for the Sustain Our Great Lakes program in its history and will have a significant impact on protecting and sustaining the natural areas in the Great Lakes ecosystem," said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. "The support provided by these grants toward the improvement of the health of the Great Lakes provides a terrific benefit for wildlife, water quality and local economies."
Collectively, the 31 new ecological restoration projects funded by Sustain Our Great Lakes in 2014 will:
- Restore and enhance more than 1,700 acres of wetlands and associated uplands
- Restore fish passage and improve habitat along nearly 300 stream miles
- Control invasive species on more than 16,000 acres
"The Sustain Our Great Lakes program represents a tremendous public–private partnership that serves to enhance conservation in the Great Lakes," said Charlie Wooley, Midwest Deputy Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. "The high caliber of the projects awarded funding in 2014, from habitat restoration to invasive species control, gives me confidence that the Great Lakes will continue to be one of our country's greatest natural treasures."
The following grants will be made to conservation organizations and public agencies in seven states and one Canadian province (award amounts in parentheses).
- Chicago Park District will control invasive vegetation and establish native trees and shrubs on 200 wetland and grassland acres at Big Marsh in Chicago ($295,000)
- Lake County Forest Preserve District* will control invasive plant species across 5,400 acres of high-priority habitat along the Lake Michigan shoreline ($397,265) [*also listed under Wisconsin heading]
- LaGrange County Community Foundation will control invasive species, seed native plants, and restore stream meander to restore 108 acres of fen habitat ($270,000)
- Shirley Heinze Land Trust will control invasive plants and re-establish the native plant community to restore 140 acres of habitat in the Hobart Marsh complex ($100,000)
- The Nature Conservancy - Indiana will control invasive plants and improve hydrology at three sites in northeastern Indiana to improve 36 acres of wetland habitat ($129,490)
- Calhoun Conservation District will replace two road–stream crossings to reconnect 11.6 miles of stream habitat in the Pigeon Creek watershed with the Kalamazoo River system ($168,354)
- Conservation Resource Alliance will replace five road–stream crossings, remove an impediment to fish passage, and install woody debris structures to reconnect 48 stream miles, improve fish habitat, and reduce sediment inputs in the Maple River watershed ($558,000)
- Conservation Resource Alliance will remove the high-hazard Boardman Dam to reconnect and restore coldwater stream habitat, contributing to a multi-phase project that will restore connectivity to 160 miles of the Boardman River in northwestern Michigan ($1,500,000)
- Huron Pines will replace three culverts to reconnect nine miles of the Black River with Lake Huron and provide stream access for coaster brook trout and other lake-run fish ($32,053)
- Huron Pines will replace five road–stream crossings, install large wood in-stream structures, and control invasive plants to reconnect 20 upstream miles, reduce sediment inputs, and improve fish habitat in the Cheboygan River watershed ($470,392)
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources will remove hardened shoreline along 350 feet of the Detroit River and construct an associated breakwater to provide protected shallow-water habitat for larval fish and amphibians ($800,000)
- Niles City will remove the unsafe Pucker Street Dam on the Dowagiac River and conduct associated channel/floodplain restoration and sediment management to improve 159 miles of coldwater stream habitat ($250,000)
- Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited will install wood structures and remove dam remnants along five coldwater streams to reduce sediment inputs and improve habitat for brook trout and other fish ($149,000)
- The Nature Conservancy - Michigan will survey and control invasive species at 50 sites encompassing 11,000 acres to improve the quality of coastal dune and wetland habitat along the 505-mile shoreline of eastern Lake Michigan ($495,380)
- Trout Unlimited will replace five culverts and conduct in-stream habitat projects to restore 45 miles of coldwater stream habitat in northwestern Michigan ($176,880)
- Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District will realign stream channel and install in-stream structures along the Stewart River to reduce sediment inputs and improve habitat for brook trout and other fish ($378,471)
- Spirit Mountain Recreation Area will install water control structures to reduce destructive peak flows, reduce sediment inputs, and enable the restoration of a brook trout fishery ($600,000)
- Onondaga Environmental Institute will install in-stream structures and stabilize stream banks at five sites to improve brook trout habitat ($176,880)
- Black Swamp Conservancy will increase sinuosity along 1,300 stream feet, install in-stream structures, and restore 52 acres of wetland and forest habitat for species of concern ($95,000)
- The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park will control invasive plants on 100 acres of riparian and upland habitat and restore 36 acres of forest ($124,000)
- Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization will install habitat structures along 1.5 miles of industrial ship channel bulkhead in the Cuyahoga River to help meet habitat needs of fish at various life stages ($293,221)
- Doan Brook Watershed Partnership will remove a failed debris rack to eliminate a fish barrier and improve hydrology and in-stream habitat along Doan Brook ($179,927)
- Hamilton Conservation Authority will relocate a berm to reconnect Lower Spencer Creek with its floodplain and improve fish passage and spawning habitat ($125,000)
- Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters will treat 46 acres along the Trent Severn Waterway to control one of two known populations of invasive water soldier in North America ($45,000)
- Brown County Land and Water Conservation Department will eliminate seven fish passage barriers to reconnect three miles of trout stream and reopen 300 acres of spawning marsh for northern pike and other fish ($68,890)
- Douglas County Land and Water Conservation Department will restore 25 acres of wild rice to improve emergent wetland habitat for waterbirds and waterfowl in Allouez Bay ($121,954)
- Lake County Forest Preserve District* will control 400 populations of 18 invasive plant species across 5,400 acres of high-priority habitat along the Lake Michigan shoreline ($397,265) [*also listed under Illinois heading]
- Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Inc. will reconstruct channel meander and restore the hydrologic connection between the Little Manitowoc River and 38 acres of coastal wetland to improve habitat for migratory shorebirds and fish ($391,480)
- Ozaukee County will remediate as many as six fish passage impediments to reconnect stream habitat for northern pike and other fish (69,576)
- River Alliance of Wisconsin will reconnect historic lake sturgeon spawning and rearing habitat in the Menominee River with Lake Michigan by providing upstream and downstream fish passage around two dams ($2,883,495)
- University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee will re-establish mayfly populations in Green Bay to improve system function and diversity and to restore an important food source for native fish ($149,301)
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will control invasive plants to restore habitat on 975 acres of wetlands that support populations of 45 rare species ($175,328)
Visit www.sustainourgreatlakes.org to learn more about the funded projects and to find more information on the Sustain Our Great Lakes program, including applicant eligibility, funding priorities, and submission requirements. Follow the program on Facebook and Twitter (@SOGL) to keep up with the latest Great Lakes news and program announcements.
About Sustain Our Great Lakes Partner Organizations
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation's wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.3 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in more than 60 countries and an industrial footprint in over 20 countries. Guided by a philosophy to produce safe, sustainable steel, we are the leading supplier of quality steel in the major global steel markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with world-class research and development and outstanding distribution networks. Through our core values of sustainability, quality and leadership, we operate responsibly with respect to the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors and the communities in which we operate. For us, steel is the fabric of life, as it is at the heart of the modern world from railways to cars and washing machines. We are actively researching and producing steel-based technologies and solutions that make many of the products and components we use in our everyday lives more energy-efficient. We are one of the world's five largest producers of iron ore and metallurgical coal and our mining business is an essential part of our growth strategy. With a geographically diversified portfolio of iron ore and coal assets, we are strategically positioned to serve our network of steel plants and the external global market. While our steel operations are important customers, our supply to the external market is increasing as we grow. In 2013, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $79.4 billion and crude steel production of 91.2 million tonnes, while our iron ore production reached 58.4 million tonnes. ArcelorMittal is listed on the stock exchanges of New York (MT), Amsterdam (MT), Paris (MT), Luxembourg (MT) and on the Spanish stock exchanges of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia (MTS).
For more information about ArcelorMittal please visit: www.arcelormittal.com.
ArcelorMittal USA Foundation
The ArcelorMittal USA Foundation makes grants in three primary focus areas: education, environment, and health and safety. In 2013, ArcelorMittal USA provided $5.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the country focused on improving the environment, education, and the health and safety of our communities. The Foundation supports those communities in which its employees live and its business and clients operate.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leads the nation's environmental science, research, education, and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. For more information, visit www.epa.gov.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work 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.
U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Established in 1905, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The mission of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels at http://www.noaa.gov/socialmedia.
CONTACT: Todd Hogrefe National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 612-564-7286 Rob Blumenthal National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 202-595-2457
Source:National Fish and Wildlife Foundation