Sustain Our Great Lakes will put another $15 million into 25 wildlife habitat restoration and green infrastructure projects

On August 22, 2019, Sustain Our Great Lakes received $6.9 million in grant funding for 25 ecological restoration projects in the Great Lakes basin. These new grants will leverage approximately $8.1 million in additional project support from grantees, generating a total on-the-ground restoration impact of $15 million.

The grants awarded today will support projects in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario to sustain, restore and protect fish, wildlife and habitats by:

  • Restoring coastal wetland habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl and marsh-spawning fish;
  • Enhancing the quality and connectivity of streams and riparian habitat for brook trout and other native fish species;
  • Controlling invasive species;
  • Restoring wetland hydrology and quality;
  • Improving nearshore health and water quality through green stormwater infrastructure; and,
  • Reducing sedimentation and nutrient runoff.

The grants awarded today by Sustain Our Great Lakes serve as an outstanding example of how public-private partnerships can amplify ecological impact at a regional scale for birds, fish and other wildlife and communities throughout the Great Lakes region,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF.

The program continued to enhance its strategies this year through the addition of an invasive species control focus area, to most effectively and efficiently address the region’s most critical conservation challenges,” he added.

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public-private partnership that supports habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes basin and advances the objectives of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the program receives funding and other support from global steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal,  the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Forest Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The 25 projects receiving grants collectively will:

  • Restore more than 5 miles of stream and riparian habitat;
  • Reopen 112 miles of river for fish passage;
  • Remove or rectify 20 barriers to aquatic organism passage;
  • Control invasive plant species on 8,700 acres of wetland, upland and riparian habitat;
  • Restore 72 acres of coastal wetland habitat;
  • Prevent more than 120 tons of sediment from entering waterways annually;
  • Add 21 million gallons of stormwater storage capacity; and,
  • Install more than 99,000 square feet of green stormwater infrastructure.

These projects will make a difference for people and the environment,” said Charlie Wooley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting Midwest regional director. “Restored rivers and wetlands means enhanced outdoor recreational opportunities on the water for residents and visitors to the area. We are again thrilled to be part of this partnership.

Since 2006, Sustain Our Great Lakes has awarded 337 grants worth more than $81 million and leveraged an additional $93.5 million in matching contributions, for a total restoration and conservation investment of more than $174.5 million.

Photo of Sandhill Cranes enjoying Great Lakes habitat via Adobe Stock.

See a complete list of these new grants, and learn more about Sustain Our Great Lakes.

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