Over $1 million in environmental projects hope to benefit city and Superior

Over $1 million in environmental projects hope to benefit city and Superior

[Courtesy of Superior Watershed Partnership]

MARQUETTE — The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) working with state, federal and private funders has secured over one million dollars in funding to implement a variety of conservation, restoration and pollution prevention projects in the greater Marquette area during the 2016/2017 field seasons. Funded projects include stormwater management, habitat restoration, tree planting, energy conservation and more. Several large scale projects improve water quality and directly benefit Lake Superior.

The SWP prioritizes projects that further the goals of the Lake Superior Lakewide Management Plan (LAMP) developed by the United States and Canada as well as projects identified in watershed management plans and climate adaptation plans developed by the SWP. In addition, the SWP develops community-based demonstration projects that can be easily replicated by other Great Lakes communities. The SWP and the City of Marquette participate in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) to share best practices and better protect Lake Superior. Current SWP projects include but are not limited to the following:

Coastal Wetland Restoration and Stormwater Quality Improvement ($200,000): The EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) awarded this grant to restore prioritized coastal wetlands and naturally treat stormwater runoff before entering Lake Superior.

Habitat Restoration for Migratory Birds and Pollinator Species ($88,000): This high profile project will restore important habitat for migratory birds and pollinator species along nearly two miles of Lake Superior shoreline within the Marquette city limits. Funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Native Tree Restoration in Riparian and Coastal Zones ($190,000): The US Forest Service awarded this GLRI grant to plant native species of trees and remove non-native species on public and private lands along the Dead River riparian corridor and prioritized coastal zones of Lake Superior.

Urban and Rural Watershed Restoration ($150,000): This EPA GLRI grant will fund urban and rural restoration projects including watersheds and sub-watersheds in the City of Marquette.

Protecting Public Beaches through Improved Stormwater Management ($198,000): Phase two of this EPA GLRI bio-engineering project behind Lakeview Arena will be completed in 2016 with approved diversions to adjacent wetlands for additional natural filtration to further improve water quality and prevent beach closures. Monitoring has confirmed significant bacteria reductions to date.

Household Monarch Butterfly/Pollinator Gardens ($7,500): Over 5,000 milkweed seed packets (totally over 150,000 seeds) were mailed to households in the greater Marquette area. In addition, the SWP and the NMU greenhouse staff provided over 3,000 free milkweed transplants to the public to benefit the endangered Monarch Butterfly.

Great Lakes Education Mini-Grants for K-12 Schools ($18,500): The SWP Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) program provides grants for K-12 schools to get students more involved in actual Great Lakes protection, restoration and monitoring projects. Over the last year grants were provided to Marquette Senior High School, North Star Academy, Bothwell, Sandy Knoll, Graveraet and other schools.

Energy Conservation and Energy Assistance Program ($315,000): The SWP administers the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) for qualifying low income families. The program includes energy conservation, insulation and state assistance with energy bills. Approximately $315,000 in energy conservation measures and energy assistance was provided to residents in the greater Marquette area during the 2015/2016 season. Funded through the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Comprehensive Stormwater Planning ($125,000): SWP staff wrote a successful grant application for the City of Marquette through the DEQ Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater (SAW) program. DEQ awarded funding for the development of a comprehensive stormwater and watershed management plan to better manage runoff from roads, parking lots and yards and to improve the quality of stormwater entering Lake Superior.

Great Lakes Conservation Corps ($25,000): GLCC crews employ young adults 18-25 years old that complete a wide variety of conservation projects within the City of Marquette including but not limited to: dune restoration, invasive plant removal, beach clean-ups, habitat restoration and more!

For more information on these and other conservation projects please contact the Superior Watershed Partnership at (906)228-6095 or www.superiorwatersheds.org.