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GLIN==> New restoration initiative for Lake St. Clair
- Subject: GLIN==> New restoration initiative for Lake St. Clair
- From: Kirk Haverkamp <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 15:25:18 -0400
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- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- List-Name: GLIN-Announce
- Organization: Great Lakes Commission
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Project to focus on coastal habitat
New restoration initiative targets Lake St. Clair
Efforts to address the longstanding needs of Lake St. Clair will get another
major boost this fall when the Great Lakes Commission begins a two-year project
to help restore and protect the lake’s coastal habitat.
The Lake St. Clair Coastal Habitat Restoration and Conservation Project will
collect data on the lake’s coastal habitat and use that information to develop
a conservation and restoration plan for those areas. The coastal habitat
restoration plan will in turn be used in developing a management plan for
the entire lake watershed.
The new project is the fourth major Lake St. Clair initiative the Commission
has undertaken in recent years, bringing much-needed attention to what has
often been described as the “forgotten lake” in the Great Lakes system.
“Lake St. Clair is relatively small compared to the Great Lakes themselves
but it’s an essential part of the Great Lakes system,” said Mike Donahue,
Commission president/CEO. “Much of the water in lakes Erie and Ontario passes
through Lake St. Clair first. It also provides drinking water for 4.5 million
people, is the most productive sportfishery in the Great Lakes and is one
of the most heavily used portions of the Great Lakes for recreational boating.”
The lake suffers from a variety of woes, including invasive species, beach
closings, sewage overflows and toxic contamination. Its coastal wetlands,
which are critical to the lake’s water quality and provide habitat for a
wide array of waterfowl and other wildlife, are under particular stress from
development, agricultural and urban runoff, leaking septic systems and other
The new project will collect data on a variety of ecological and socioeconomic
factors related to Lake St. Clair’s coastal habitat. This information will
be assembled into a computerized mapping system and database that will enable
researchers and resource managers to easily access and interpret the data.
The data will also be used to develop a tool for use in evaluating the effects
of resource management decisions, as well as in the production of a draft
coastal habitat restoration plan.
The project ties into the other major Lake St. Clair initiatives the Commission
is pursuing, which include a comprehensive management plan for the lake and
St. Clair River watersheds; an inventory of monitoring programs and development
of a strategic monitoring plan; and a set of recommendations for a binational
management framework for the lake itself. The first two are joint projects
with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the third is funded by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office.
“For a long time, Lake St. Clair was overlooked when it came to restoring
and protecting the water resources of the Great Lakes,” said Nat Robinson,
chairman of the Great Lakes Commission. “These projects are helping to remedy
that oversight and ensure that Lake St. Clair is a healthy and productive
resource for the millions who live around its shores.”
The Lake St. Clair restoration work is part of a larger suite of projects,
undertaken by the Great Lakes Commission with its partner agencies, that
have directed approximately $7 million to restoration management work in
the Great Lakes basin.
The coastal habitat project is funded by a $270,000 cooperative agreement
with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal
Services Center. Under the agreement, the Commission and NOAA will each carry
out specific project tasks.
The Michigan Natural Features Inventory will be a key partner in collecting
data for the project. Other partners include a variety of U.S. and Canadian
federal, state, provincial, local, nonprofit and tribal/First Nation entities
that participate in management and advisory committees. The project is conducted
under NOAA’s Landscape Characterization and Restoration Program.
Contact: Victoria Pebbles
Great Lakes Commission
Argus II Bldg., 400 Fourth St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Nathaniel E. Robinson (Wisconsin),
is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by state and U.S. federal
law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high
quality of life for the Great LakesSt. Lawrence region and its residents.
The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials and governors’
appointees from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario
and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.”
The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian
federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional
interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.