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GLIN==> Michigan Dune Alliance

December 4, 2000
Contact: Peg Kohring

The Michigan Dune Alliance Secures Over $700,000 for the Next Three Years

The Michigan Dune Alliance has secured funding to begin operation, thanks to a $600,000 grant from The Mott Foundation, $72,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency, and $50,000 from Coastal Zone Management. The Michigan Dune Alliance, organized with the help of the Conservation Fund in November 1999, was formed to promote conservation and stewardship of the coastal marshes, dunes, forests and freshwater river systems along the shores of Lake Michigan. It is a partnership including five Michigan land trusts, the Great Lakes Program and Michigan Field Office of The Nature Conservancy, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, the Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Quality, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. "The [Michigan Dune] Alliance," according G. Tracy Mehan, Director of the Great Lakes office of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, "seeks to mobilize private, public and not-for-profit resources to protect the priceless sand dunes along Lake Michigan and elsewhere. It offers an alternative to regulatory and legal gridlock through collaboration and private action." 

Peg Kohring, the Conservation Fund's Midwest Director, helped coordinate the land trust partnerships, which include: Leelanau Conservancy, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, Little Traverse Conservancy, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, and Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Peg explains that the goal of the Michigan Dune Alliance is "to strengthen the land trusts' ability to conserve key areas in a manner consistent with the communities' needs and concerns."

The generous funding from the Mott Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Coastal Zone Management has enabled the Michigan Dune Alliance to put together and implement a plan of action for the next three years. Included in this plan are nine educational meetings, chaired by Peg Kohring, covering topics such as the ecology, classification, and threat management of aquatic systems. Next, the Michigan Dune Alliance will develop conservation plans for 14 key Lake Michigan aquatic sites identified by the Nature Conservancy's eco-regional and site planning process. The Nature Conservancy will donate GIS (Geographic Information System) maps, which will be produced for each of the sites. The final and crucial goal for the next three years will be to strengthen the individual land trusts, both working together and in partnerships, to allow them to implement the site conservation plans over the long term. The Conservation Fund will be working closely with the land trust partners to achieve this goal.

For more information about the Conservation Fund and its work with the Michigan Dune Alliance, please contact Peg Kohring at the Midwest Office by telephone, 312-913-9065, or by email at Pkohring@aol.com. The Conservation Fund's web address is www.ConservationFund.org.

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