The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it will award more than $645,000 in 2013 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding through the Fish Passage Program to support projects in the Midwest Region’s Great Lakes Basin. Funding will support the removal of 12 fish passage barriers, reconnecting more than 91 stream miles. These eight projects are supported by an additional $374,000 in matching funds.
Construction of millions of culverts, dams, dikes, water diversions, and other artificial barriers impound and redirect water for flood control, drinking water, electricity, irrigation, and transportation, thereby changing the natural features of rivers and streams. Balancing the importance of stream connectivity for local fish species with the construction of these structures is a conservation challenge.
With the funding support of GLRI for the removal of barriers to aquatic organism passage, the Service and its partners have begun to reverse the harmful impacts of artificial barriers to native fish species and the aquatic environment in the Great Lakes Basin.
2013 GLRI Fish Passage projects in the Midwest include:
- Freeport Dam Removal and Culvert Replacements, Coldwater River, Kent County, MI; this project will reopen 17 miles of stream habitat
- Schwartz Creek Fish Passage Project, Dickinson County, MI; this project will reopen 22 miles of stream habitat.
- Pemebonwon River Fish Passage and Stream Channel Restoration, Marinette County, WI; this project will reopen 38 miles of stream habitat.
- Replace Perched Culvert on 176th Ave and North Branch White River in Oceana County, MI; this project will reopen 3.5 miles of stream habitat.
- Replace Failed Culvert on Bancroft Creek (Boardman River) in Grand Traverse County, MI; this project will reopen 1.5 miles of stream habitat.
- Haynes Creek/Beaton Road Crossing Restoration, Black River (Alcona County), MI; this project will reopen 6 miles of stream habitat.
- City Creek Brook Trout Restoration, Ashland County, WI; this project will reopen 2 miles of stream habitat
- Status and Distribution of Brook Trout in the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes Basin; this project will help the Service and partners better understand the current status Midwest brook trout populations.
The grants were funded by the President’s 2013 Budget, which provided $300 million for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency –led, interagency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. GLRI funding has helped us to expand our existing work in the Great Lakes Basin to make a greater impact regionally. Since its inception in 2010, the GLRI funded portion of the National Fish Passage Program has removed or bypassed 37 barriers, restoring access to 267 stream miles and 1,396 acres of wetlands. Through GLRI funding, the NFPP has also been able to leverage an average of more than one and a half dollars for every project dollar spent through its partners.
For more information on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service activities related specifically to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, please visit www.fws.gov/GLRI.
Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service