WMSRDC and partners are performing an investigation of five lake bottom locations where historic lumber-era sawmill operations left deposits of slab wood, sawdust and other mill debris. Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute is performing ecological monitoring to determine whether the material has reduced the diversity and abundance of bottom dwelling organisms (fish food). The project will remove debris and restore the locations where aquatic habitat is degraded.
WMSRDC is coordinating the Muskegon Lake Mill Debris Restoration Project with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division, Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership, public and private landowners and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory/Lake Michigan Field Station. NOAA provided a $2,837,583 U.S. EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the Great Lakes Commission and WMSRDC for implementation of the project.