GLRI Project-Shiawassee Flats Wetland Restoration

This project is the first wetland restoration project completed under President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a five year commitment to restoring the ecology of the Great Lakes.

The Shiawassee Flats Wetland Restoration is a great example of a public-private partnership formed to accomplish quality habitat restorations. Ducks Unlimited, Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Upper Mississippi River & Great Lakes Region Joint Venture collaborated to restore a 141-acre agricultural field adjacent to the Flint River back to its historic wetland habitat.

SHIAWASSEE FLATS WETLAND RESTORATION
The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR )is strategically situated where the Flint, Tittabawassee, Shiawassee, and Cass Rivers converge to form the Saginaw River. The refuge protects 9,620 acres of the once vast 40,000-acre Shiawassee Flats. Peak daily counts of ducks and Canada geese at the refuge exceed 40,000 and 25,000 birds, respectively. As a result, the refuge received the designation as a globally Important Bird Area. Peak daily counts of over 2,500 shorebirds earned the refuge inclusion as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site. Refuge wetlands also provide particularly important spawning and nursery habitat for sportfish that use the adjacent rivers and Saginaw Bay.

This project was accomplished by disabling sub-surface drain tiles, constructing low-level earthen berms, and installing water control structures to restore wetland hydrology while also providing the refuge with the tools needed to emulate natural hydrologic conditions and sustain high quality wetland habitat.

PROJECT DEDICATION CEREMONY

A dedication ceremony with a distinguished panel of speakers followed by a project tour will be held on October 21 from 1-3 pM, hosted by Ducks Unlimited. MUCC members are invited to join in the celebration.

RSVP by October 14 to: Debra Gray, dgray@ducks.org or 734-623-2000

GREAT LAKES RESTORATION INITIATIVE

In May 2004, a Presidential Executive Order was signed recognizing the Great Lakes as a national treasure, eventually leading to the formation of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). This program, sponsored through the Environmental Protection Agency, has provided the most funding for projects that restore, protect and enhance the great lakes region. The program includes a task-force of 11 federal agencies with a short term plan for 2010-2014. There are five urgent objectives within the action plan:

  1. Cleaning up toxins and areas of concern (AoCs)
  2. Combating invasive species
  3. Promoting near-shore health by protecting watersheds from polluted runoff
  4. Wetland and habitat restoration
  5. Working together for outreach and education

The program is funded primarily through the EPA, which has provided $255 million in funds to 16 federal agencies and an additional $163 million in grants for GLRI projects. Hundreds of projects are applied for through an extensive grant-writing process. Project funds range from $100,000 to $2,000,000. Academic institutions such as Michigan State University and Central Michigan University have spearheaded projects. Others include Michigan Department of Agriculture, Ducks Unlimited (receiving funds for 11 grants last year) and local governments such as the city of Ishpeming. Projects include funding research on invasive species, clean-up projects and restoration projects.

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