WMSRDC is a partner in the new habitat restoration to be completed under the new NOAA/Great Lakes Commission Regional Partnership
WMSRDC is currently designing the restoration of 53 acres of wetland on the Lower Muskegon River, with support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and a grant through the NOAA/Great Lakes Commission Regional Partnership. The new funding is for construction of the project in 2017. WMSRDC and project partners will restore wetlands, remove unnatural fill material, perform monitoring and reconnect the river to its former, natural floodplain. For many years, this site was a celery farm owned and operated by the Bosma family. It was recently purchased by Muskegon County under a NOAA acquisition grant.
Below is the press release regarding the grant issued by the Great Lakes Commission.
For immediate release: August 10, 2016
Contact: Beth Wanamaker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: 734-971-9135; Cell: 248-787-3920
Great Lakes Commission awarded $7.9 million to restore Muskegon Lake as part of $40 million regional partnership
Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) announced today it has received $7.9 million to restore Michigan’s Muskegon Lake, as part of a new $40 million regional partnership the GLC is leading to clean up several Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The work funded will likely be the final habitat restoration project necessary for formal removal of Muskegon Lake from the list of Areas of Concern, the worst “toxic hotspots” in the region.
“We are proud to receive this recognition of our longstanding commitment to restoring toxic hotspots across the Great Lakes and excited to continue the work of restoring Muskegon Lake,” said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission. “This is the third regional partnership the Great Lakes Commission has been awarded since 2008, with over $70 million being directed to key sites across the basin. We look forward to continuing this critical work in collaboration with our federal and local partners.”
Funding for the Lower Muskegon River Hydrological Reconnection and Wetland Restoration Project is being provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to the GLC, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The project will reconnect former wetlands with the Muskegon River and restore fish passage and habitat for a variety of native fish and wildlife. It is anticipated that restoration will involve the removal of three dikes (4,361 feet) composed of artificial fill, including broken concrete, soil and tree stumps. Local implementation will be led by the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission. The project is expected to increase tourism and enhance the Muskegon Lake fishery, which is estimated to contribute $1.3 million annually to the local economy.
“From fishing and boating to tourism and shipping, Michigan’s Great Lakes and waterways drive our economy,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is vital to protecting our precious water resources, and this funding will help restore critical habitat for fish and other wildlife and boost West Michigan’s economy with increased outdoor recreation opportunities.”
“Protecting our Great Lakes is so important to our way of life and our economy in Michigan,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “Today’s investment will help us continue the cleanup and restoration of Muskegon Lake while keeping our waterways and wildlife habitats safe.”
“Our way of life in West Michigan is forever linked to the careful preservation of the Great Lakes. Programs that invest in the economic and environmental health of these treasured resources, such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, are showing real and measureable results and are something I am proud to continue to fight for,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02). “With White Lake officially delisted as an area of concern, I am encouraged and delighted to see the Great Lakes Commission collaborating with NOAA, as well as, state and local partners to address the remaining areas of concern across the Great Lakes region, beginning with Muskegon Lake. Restoring these sites will enhance recreational activities, expand economic opportunity, and build a stronger and more environmentally sound Muskegon County. In order to successfully preserve and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem for future generations, we must have continued engagement from stakeholders at every level. I look forward to being part of that discussion, and part of the solution.”
Muskegon Lake was designated a Great Lakes Area of Concern in 1985 due to ecological problems caused by industrial discharges, shoreline alterations and the filling of open water and coastal wetlands. Since 1992, community groups, governmental and nongovernmental organizations have worked collaboratively to remediate contaminated sediments and to restore and protect fish and wildlife species and their habitats.
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