WASHINGTON, DC,, Aug. 5, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Sustain Our Great Lakes partners announced 20 projects selected to receive more than $5.7 million in grant funding for ecological restoration in the Great Lakes basin. With a focus on restoring coastal wetland habitat and improving the quality and connectivity of stream and riparian habitat, this investment will help protect, restore, and enhance the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes and surrounding region. Grant recipients will match the new funding with an additional $7 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $12.7 million.
"The longer Sustain Our Great Lakes is around, the more leaders around the nation are looking at it as the standard for how public agencies and private partners can drive hard to achieve real on-the-ground and in-the-water results to save freshwater communities," said Cameron Davis, who as senior advisor counsels EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in coordinating 11 federal departments in implementing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
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, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service. 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 245 grants worth $54.8 million, leveraging $58.8 million in matching contributions, for a total investment of $113.6 million.
"ArcelorMittal is dedicated to the rehabilitation and enhancement of our shared environment and communities. The Great Lakes – home to more than 35 million people and biologically diverse ecosystems – are no exception," said Bill Steers, General Manager, Communications and Corporate Responsibility at ArcelorMittal Americas. "We recognize the importance of industry and government working together to restore and protect vital natural resources on which our communities and our businesses depend. Together as partners, we are able to leverage our strengths to achieve what is best for our environment. That is why ArcelorMittal is honored to be a part of Sustain Our Great Lakes, which serves as a testament to the importance of collaboration and conservation, achieving results that have an immense ecological impact."
"The Sustain Our Great Lakes Program continues to be a model for successful collaboration across the public and private sectors where partners are working together – and working smarter – to achieve meaningful conservation for Great Lakes fish, wildlife and people," said Charlie Wooley, Midwest Deputy Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "The Service is proud to support a new suite of on-the-ground investments that will result in real improvements to the health and ecological integrity of the Great Lakes."
The work funded in 2015 includes improving passage for fish and other aquatic organisms, controlling invasive species, restoring wetland hydrology, and improving stream habitat structure. Collectively, the funded projects will:
• Restore and enhance more than 1,600 acres of wetlands and associated uplands
• Reconnect fish passage and improve habitat along 130 stream miles
• Remove nearly 50 barriers to aquatic organism passage
"Throughout the past 10 years, the Sustain Our Great Lakes program has made remarkable progress in its mission to sustain, restore, and protect the fish, wildlife, and habitat in the Great Lakes basin," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO at NFWF. "The grants announced today will continue to support effective and exciting projects across the basin that generate important benefits for both wildlife and people."
The following grants will be made to conservation organizations and public agencies in seven states and one Canadian province (award amounts in parentheses).
• The Nature Conservancy will improve 83 acres of high-quality fen, sedge meadow, and adjacent upland habitat by removing invasive species and establishing native vegetation ($57,259)
• Shirley Heinze Land Trust will restore 111 acres and protect an additional 30 acres to restore and preserve rare boreal flatwoods habitat in northwestern Indiana ($117,337)
• Conservation Resource Alliance will remove 23 passage barriers, stabilize 1,000 feet of stream bank, and install woody habitat structures along 2,400 feet of stream in four northern Michigan watersheds ($500,000)
• Huron Pines will restore more than 350 acres of wetland and shoreline habitat by controlling invasive species, planting native buffers, and reconnecting upland and wetland habitat complexes ($115,000)
• Huron Pines will replace five road–stream crossings, install in-stream habitat structures, and implement agricultural conservation practices in the Au Gres River Watershed ($235,000)
• The Nature Conservancy will restore 65 acres of coastal wetlands as part of a larger effort to improve 946 acres of wetland habitat at Erie Marsh Preserve along western Lake Erie ($881,628)
• The Mason-Lake Conservation District will restore a former log-roll site and replace three failing road–stream crossings along the Pere Marquette River and its tributaries to enhance and reconnect 14 stream miles ($424,888)
• The Manistee County Government will remove the final passage barrier along Arquilla Creek to restore stream function, improve aquatic habitat, and reconnect three stream miles ($90,000)
• The Oceana County Road Commission will replace a failing culvert to improve connectivity and reduce sediment inputs along the North Branch of the White River ($70,000)
• Trout Unlimited will restore one mile of stream through bank stabilization, planting of native vegetation, and installation of in-stream habitat structures ($280,000)
• The Research Foundation of State University of New York will implement cattail control techniques to improve and expand the area of lake-connected fen, a rare community type on Lake Ontario ($93,864)
• Trout Unlimited will replace a road–stream crossing on the only New York designated trout stream that accesses the Finger Lakes National Forest ($211,349)
• The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will restore and enhance 265 acres of emergent marsh and swamp forest habitat in Mentor Marsh, a National Natural Landmark ($126,366)
• The Winous Point Marsh Conservancy will restore 175 acres of coastal wetland to an emergent marsh community by rebuilding a former diked wetland in western Lake Erie ($950,000)
• The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation will restore hydrologic connections between the Long Point Bay and the Big Creek Marsh ($200,000)
• Ducks Unlimited will restore 400 acres of coastal wetland habitat at Presque Isle State Park through the control of invasive species and planting native vegetation ($565,626)
• Ducks Unlimited will repair a failing dike to enhance the hydrology and habitat structure of the Suamico River Area Coastal Wetland, benefiting northern pike, breeding birds, and other aquatic species ($163,278)
• Ozaukee County will remove two passage barriers along Mineral Springs Creek to restore the aquatic connection between Lake Michigan and stream and wetland habitat ($185,000)
• The Bad River Watershed Association will replace five road–stream crossings to enhance habitat for native brook trout and other aquatic organisms ($229,160)
• Trout Unlimited will replace seven culverts to reconnect 30 stream miles and improve aquatic habitat on and adjacent to the east side of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest ($275,000)
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 $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 19 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 people use in their 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 2014, ArcelorMittal had revenues of US$79.3 billion and crude steel production of 93.1 million metric tons, while our iron ore production reached 63.9 million metric tons.
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, visit: corporate.arcelormittal.com or usa.arcelormittal.com.
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
NOAA's mission 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, Instagram and our other social media channels.
U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that works with landowners and managers through voluntary conservation planning and assistance to help keep private working lands productive and to ensure a healthy environment for generations to come. NRCS professional conservationists consider soil, water, air, plants, animals, humans, and energy in planning resource management systems for landowners and land managers. Those professionals also work with conservation districts, local communities, state and federal agencies, and other conservation organizations to identify local priority resource concerns and develop plans to improve and protect the natural resources, often for entire watersheds. In simpler terms, NRCS's focus is "Helping People Help the Land." For more information, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.
CONTACT: Todd Hogrefe, NFWF, 612-564-7286 Rob Blumenthal, NFWF, 202-857-0166
Source:National Fish and Wildlife Foundation