Detroit River Restoration Tour

Event Date: 8/17/2017

The Detroit River has seen its fair share of environmental challenges. Now, after years of dedicated restoration work, the Detroit River and its ecosystems are heading toward recovery.

On August 17, 2017, join the Friends of the Detroit River, Michigan Sea Grant, and our many partners as we celebrate the hard work and dedication of those who have helped shape a new future for the Detroit River. This is your opportunity to visit the habitat restoration sites of Grosse Ile and Belle Isle for an up close, behind the scenes, expert-guided tour.

Highlights of the event include:
 
10 am – Noon, Grosse Ile
  • Boat tour of Stony Island restoration site
  • Coffee and donuts provided
1:30 – 4:30, Belle Isle
  • Lunch and short program in Dossin Museum
  • Meet a live sturgeon
  • Bus tour of Belle Isle restoration sites including Lake Okonoka and Blue Heron Lagoon.

Download the full agenda (PDF)

More information about restoration sites:

Space is limited. Reserve your spot today!

Registration: ow.ly/DiBq30cQDBf

Contact: Mary Bohling, (313) 410-9431, bohling@msu.edu

Visioning for City of St. Ignace Waterfront

Event Date: 10/24/2016

sustainable-small-harbors-st-ignace

News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Clyde Hart or Les Therrien
City of St. Ignace
(906) 643-9671
simgr@lighthouse.net

[St. Ignace, Mich.] – The City of St. Ignace has been selected as a case study community in developing a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities. A research and design team will engage the St. Ignace community in an exercise to identify opportunities to secure the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of public waterfront facilities and the nearby community.

Driven by input from local citizens and community leaders, the project will review a draft coastal community sustainability toolkit and create some updated vision options for the City of St. Ignace harbor and waterfront. This will include learning from potential management strategies useful for small harbors elsewhere in Michigan and, more specifically, to assist the City of St. Ignace with identifying planning objectives that help ensure a more secure future.

The project is supported by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lawrence Technological University, Edgewater Resources, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Public Meetings for Sustainable Harbor Visioning

Visioning Meeting
2–5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, 2016
St. Ignace Public Library
110 W. Spruce Street
St. Ignace, Michigan  49781

Agenda and more details available at: www.miseagrant.umich.edu/smallharborsustainability/get-involved/st-ignace/

Benefits to St. Ignace

As one of six case study communities, St. Ignace will benefit from in-depth visioning assessment — typically valued into the thousands of dollars — at no direct cost. The multi-disciplinary project team will host a key meeting to garner feedback, develop ideas, and create a sustainable vision for the St. Ignace waterfront and nearby areas.

Share Your Vision

Developing a vision for a sustainable harbor requires input from a wide range of stakeholders, including landowners, waterfront users, planning officials, chamber of commerce members, and local citizens. To share your vision, please attend this upcoming public meeting to collaboratively develop vision elements for the St. Ignace waterfront.

The visioning meeting is scheduled for 2 –5 p.m. Monday, October 24, 2016, at the St. Ignace Public Library, 110 W. Spruce Street,  St. Ignace, Michigan. Discussion will include pedestrian access, harbor use, and linking the waterfront to downtown and commercial areas.

 

Additional Contacts:

Mark Breederland
Educator & Facilitator
Michigan Sea Grant Extension
breederl@msu.edu
(231) 922-4628

Dr. Donald Carpenter, P.E.
Project Manager
Lawrence Technological University
carpenter@ltu.edu
(248) 204-2549

Creating an Updated Vision for Rogers City Waterfront

Event Date: 9/14/2016

News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Joe Hefele
City Manager, Rogers City
(989) 734-2191

[Rogers City, Mich.] – Rogers City has been selected as a case study community in developing a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities. A research and design team will engage the Rogers City community in a variety of exercises to identify opportunities to secure the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of public waterfront facilities and the nearby community.

Driven by input from local citizens and community leaders, the project will review a draft coastal community sustainability toolkit and create some updated vision options for the Rogers City harbor and waterfront. This will include learning from potential management strategies useful for small harbors elsewhere in Michigan and, more specifically, to assist Rogers City with identifying planning objectives that help ensure a more secure future.

The project is supported by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lawrence Technological University, Edgewater Resources, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Public Meetings for Sustainable Harbor Visioning

Initial Visioning Meeting
6–8 p.m. Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Rogers City Theater
257 N. 3rd Street, 49779

Community Design Charrette
October 25–27, 2016
Presque Isle District Library Rogers City
181 E. Erie St.

Benefits to Rogers City

As one of six case study communities, Rogers City will benefit from in-depth visioning assessment — typically valued into the tens of thousands of dollars — at no direct cost. The project team will host an initial meeting and then a three-day public planning meeting, or “community design charrette,” to garner feedback, develop ideas, and create a sustainable vision for the Rogers City waterfront and nearby areas.

Share Your Vision

Developing a vision for a sustainable harbor requires input from a wide range of stakeholders including landowners, waterfront users, planning officials, chamber of commerce members, and local citizens. To share your vision, please attend upcoming public meetings to collaboratively develop a plan for the Rogers City waterfront.

The initial visioning meeting is scheduled for 6–8 p.m. Wednesday, September 14, 2016, at the Rogers City Theater (257 N 3rd Street, Rogers City). Those who attend the initial meeting will have the chance to weigh in on the future of the Rogers City waterfront and will help identify assets linked to existing or potential public waterfront uses and/or facilities. Discussion will include pedestrian access, harbor use, and linking the waterfront to downtown and commercial areas.

In the community design charrette scheduled for October 25–27 at the Presque Isle District Library – Rogers City (181 E Erie St, Rogers City), participants will assess and prioritize design and planning options. The result will be a preliminary vision for the public waterfront of Rogers City 2036. The three-day design charrette will include small working groups (by invitation) and public sessions. A detailed agenda will be made available on the project website as the event date draws near.

Additional Contacts:

Mark Breederland
Educator & Facilitator
Michigan Sea Grant Extension
breederl@msu.edu
(231) 922-4628

Dan Leonard
Northeast region Community Assistance Team
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Leonardd6@michigan.org
(989) 387-4467

Dr. Donald Carpenter, P.E.
Project Manager
Lawrence Technological University
carpenter@ltu.edu
(248) 204-2549

Creating a Vision for Au Gres’ Waterfront

Au Gres Bridge Photo James Baughn

Au Gres Pedestrian Bridge. Photo by James Baughn

News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: John Stanley
Au Gres City Manager
(989) 876-8811

[Au Gres, Mich.] – Au Gres has been selected as a case study community to develop a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities. In a six-month engagement process, a research and design team will engage the Au Gres community in an exercise to identify opportunities to secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of public waterfront facilities.

With help from local citizens, the project will develop an economic model and sustainability toolkit including potential management strategies for small harbors in Michigan to assist communities in identifying planning objectives to ensure a more secure future.

The project is supported by the Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes, Department of Natural Resources, Lawrence Technological University, Michigan Sea Grant and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Benefits to Au Gres

As one of four case study communities, Au Gres will benefit from in-depth analysis and economic assessment — typically valued into the tens of thousands of dollars — at no direct cost. The assessment will shed light on barriers to financial sustainability and identify potential solutions, reducing dependence on declining external funding.

The project team will host an initial meeting and then a three-day public planning meeting, or “community design charrette,” to garner feedback, develop ideas and create a sustainable vision for Au Gres’ waterfront. The research and design team will then compile community input to develop a harbor sustainability plan specific to Au Gres, plus a case study on the process and outcomes to be used as part of the harbor sustainability toolkit. The toolkit will be shared to help other communities in Michigan move forward in drafting their own sustainable harbor and waterfront plans.

Share Your Vision

Developing a vision for a sustainable harbor requires input from a wide range of stakeholders, including landowners, waterfront users, planning officials and local citizens. To share your vision, attend upcoming public meetings to collaboratively develop a plan for Au Gres’ waterfront.

The initial visioning meeting is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, August 25 at the City Park Pavilion (522 Park Street, Au Gres). Those who attend the initial meeting will have the chance to weigh in on the future of Au Gres’ waterfront and will help identify assets linked to existing or potential public waterfront uses and/or facilities. Discussion will include pedestrian access, harbor use and linking the waterfront to downtown and commercial areas.

In the community design charrette scheduled for September 24-26 at City Park Pavilion, participants will assess and prioritize design and planning options, resulting in a preliminary vision for the public waterfront as an asset to the community. The three-day design charrette will include small working groups (by invitation) and public sessions. A detailed agenda will be made available on the project website as the event date draws near, see: www.miseagrant.umich.edu/smallharborsustainability.

Public Meetings for Sustainable Harbor Visioning

  • Initial Visioning Meeting
    Tuesday, August 25, 6-8 p.m.
    City Park Pavilion
  • Community Design Charrette
    September 24-26
    City Park Pavilion

Agenda and more details available at: www.miseagrant.umich.edu/smallharborsustainability

Additional Contacts

Amy Samples
Michigan Sea Grant, Coastal Resilience Specialist
asamples@umich.edu or (734) 647-0766

Dr. Donald Carpenter, Project Manager
Lawrence Technological University
carpenter@ltu.edu or (248) 204-2549

John Stanley, Au Gres City Manager    
johnmstanley@hotmail.com or (989) 876-8811

Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership Conference

Event Date: 3/11/2015

The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership is pleased to announce the return of its Shoreline and Shallows Conference this year. This popular one-day conference will be held on Wednesday, March 11 during ANR Week at MSU’s Kellogg Center in East Lansing.

Links to a full agenda flyer and to online registration for the one-day conference may be found by visiting the MNSP Shoreline and Shallows Conference webpage at www.mishorelinepartnership.org. Early bird registration is $35 and includes lunch. Regular registration (after February 25) is $45, including lunch. Walk-ins are accepted but lunch is not guaranteed.

Topics include:
  • Lakeshore protection in Vermont
  • Ecology, Policy and Social Processes
  • Shoreline Restoration:
  • Lake and River Differences and Challenges
  • Plant Design Processes for Lake Shorelines and Stream Banks
  • Estimating Costs for Shoreline Installations
  • Project Results from the MNSP: What Went Right, What Went Wrong

The conference takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Happy Birthday Detroit: The 313 Turns 313 Years Old!

The city of Detroit and the Detroit River have experienced a great deal of environmental change in the last 313 years. Then, like now, it’s impassioned citizens and groups that work to help make the city and the river great.

Early Detroit

On July 24, 1701, Antoine Laumet de LaMothe Cadillac established the City of Detroit with permission from French King Louis XIV. When first established, the French trading outpost was called Fort-Pontchartrain du Détroit. Today, some of us who live in metro Detroit often refer to the city by its area code, 313. While much has changed in the last 313 years, some things are still very similar. Detroit is still a place with impassioned people who are working hard to make Detroit a great place to live, work and play.

Read Full Article

Boosting Native Fish in St. Clair River

NEWS RELEASE

sturgeon mouth

DNR representatives showing off the unusual mouth of lake sturgeon before returning it to the water.

July 1, 2014

ANN ARBOR– Construction of two new fish-spawning reefs is about to begin in the St. Clair River northeast of Detroit, the latest chapter in a decade-plus effort to restore native species such as lake sturgeon, walleye and lake whitefish.

The new reefs will be built this summer and fall at two locations on the St. Clair. The goal of the University of Michigan-led project is to boost fish populations by providing river-bottom rock structures suitable for spawning.

The crevice-filled rock beds are designed to mimic the natural limestone reefs that existed before the rivers connecting lakes Huron and Erie were dredged and blasted to create shipping canals, and before an increased flow of sediments into the system from agricultural and urban runoff.

Spawning reef projects throughout the corridor.

Spawning reef projects throughout the corridor.

Construction of the Harts Light Reef is scheduled to begin this week and is expected to last eight to 12 weeks. The site is adjacent to East China, between St. Clair and Marine City. Work at the Pointe Aux Chenes site, which is between Algonac and Russell Island, will likely begin in September and is expected to last six to eight weeks.

The $3.5 million project is funded by the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and is a follow-up to rock reefs built in the Detroit and St. Clair rivers in 2004, 2008 and 2012. The habitat-restoration project is led by U-M in collaboration with various local, state, federal and private partners.

Over the years, the reef builders have experimented with rocks of different type, shape and size. They discovered that the location of the reef within the river channel is more important than the kind of rock.

Deep, swift-flowing waters seem to work best, tempting the target fish species while keeping the rocks free of silt, algae and mussels. Also, the rocks must be piled deep enough to form crevices that protect eggs from being washed downstream or consumed by predator fish.

The reefs built in the Middle Channel of the St. Clair River in 2012 have attracted spawning lake sturgeon for two consecutive years, an indication that the reef builders have hit upon the right recipe, said project leader Jennifer Read, deputy director of the U-M Water Center at the Graham Sustainability Institute.

Jen-Read-St-Clair-River-Restoration

Jennifer Read, U-M Water Center

“These fish seek out rocky areas in clean, fast-flowing water. Unfortunately, most of that habitat type was removed when the shipping channels were created or has filled with silt from agriculture and construction in the watershed. But we’re gradually restoring it with these reefs,” Read said.

“A long-term goal of this team is to create enough fish-spawning habitat in the river so that we have really robust, self-sustaining populations of lake sturgeon, whitefish and walleye,” she said.

The latest spawning reefs will be made from broken limestone blocks 4 to 8 inches in diameter. That size seems to entice native fish while discouraging invasive species such as the sea lamprey and the round goby.

The limestone is from quarries in Bay Port and Ottawa Lake, Mich., and a crane with a GPS-guided clamshell shovel will precisely position the blocks on the river bottom. The work is being done by Faust Corp., a marine construction firm, along with SmithGroup JJR engineers and architects.

Both sets of reefs will be located in 30- to 50-foot waters and will not interfere with personal boats or freighters and will have no detectable effect on water flow or water levels.

The Harts Light Reef will be 3.8 acres: 1,007 feet long, 165 feet wide and 2 feet tall. The Pointe Aux Chenes Reef will be 1.5 acres: 605 feet long, 108 feet wide and 2 feet tall.

The lake sturgeon is the biggest fish in the Great Lakes, and the St. Clair River is home to the largest remaining population in those inland seas. They are classified as threatened or endangered in seven of the eight Great Lakes states.

Lake sturgeon can grow up to 7 feet in length and can weigh up to 300 pounds. Female sturgeon can live up to 80 years, while males live an average of 55 years.

Taken together, the Detroit River and St. Clair River reef-building projects represent the largest effort to date to restore a primitive, wild fish within a major urban area in the Great Lakes region.

The project’s core science team includes members from the University of Michigan (Water Center, Michigan Sea Grant), the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy and the St. Clair-Detroit River Sturgeon for Tomorrow chapter are also collaborators.

Celebrating 10 years of Widespread Collaboration

More than 70 representatives from a wide swath of partner organizations came together to celebrate 10 years of partnership and countless hours of collaborative work on the St. Clair-Detroit River System (SCDRS). The initiative, formerly referred to as the Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative or HECI, includes international, federal, state and local partners focusing on research and restoration along the corridor.

The SCDRS corridor includes southern Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and western Lake Erie. Water from the three upper Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan and Huron) flows into the St. Clair River, through the Huron-Erie Corridor (HEC), and into Lake Erie.

The annual meeting serves as a yearly check-in of ongoing and future projects throughout the corridor. The goals are varied, but the focus is on removing Beneficial Use Impairments and delisting the designated Areas of Concern along the river corridor.

The initiative was recently recognized by the Department of the Interior for exemplary partnerships.

Impact: Going with the Flow — Improving Water Management in the Clinton River

The following is one example of the impact Michigan Sea Grant has had throughout the state, region or beyond.

Many rivers in Michigan have dams, creating chains of (impounded) lakes at their headwaters. Water flows will become increasingly hard to manage in these systems because climate change is expected to make extreme weather events more common. The problem is particularly challenging when residents expect lake levels to be steady, as is the case in the Clinton River region. Because dams are common throughout the state, the research could also be applied to other river and impoundment systems.

In 2009, Michigan Sea Grant began funding an Integrated Assessment about managing water flows in the Clinton River. Researchers from Lawrence Technological University developed a unique hydrologic model to evaluate different scenarios for managing lake water levels and better protecting downstream river health. A diverse advisory board, including the county water resource commissioner and residents, were actively engaged and met regularly throughout the project to discuss project results. MSG helped researchers communicate potential scenarios, for example developing graphics that showed the effect of dams with high and low levels of precipitation.

Results: The water resource commissioner’s office began piloting new water management strategies in lakes that the model identified as having extra storage capacity. Residents and recreation enthusiasts have already noticed improvements downstream in the Clinton River. The hydrologic model and the graphics are also being applied to the Huron River, where the watershed council is partnering with the University of Michigan to conduct a similar integrated assessment about river flows and climate scenarios. Further, the water resource commissioner has reported that he better understand the options available for modifying water management without upsetting residents.

To learn more about this project, see: Project Website

Fish Reef Restoration Partnership Receives Prestigious Partners in Conservation Award

The Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative received a 2013 Department of the Interior (DOI) Partners in Conservation award today, which is one of the highest recognitions bestowed on organizations by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

“The Department of the Interior is proud to recognize the accomplishments of those who are innovating and collaborating in ways that address today’s complex conservation and stewardship challenges,” Secretary Jewell said at the awards ceremony. “These partnerships represent the gold standard for how Interior is doing business across the nation to power our future, strengthen tribal nations, conserve and enhance America’s great outdoors and engage the next generation.”

2013 Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Award C

From left: Anne Castle, U.S. Department of Interior; John Dettmer, Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant; Kurt Newman, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center; Sally Jewel, Secretary of the Interior; Rich Drouin, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; Jim Boase, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Bill Werkheiser, U.S. Geological Survey.

The Partners in Conservation Awards recognize outstanding examples of conservation legacies achieved when DOI engages groups and individuals representing a wide range of backgrounds, ages and interests to work collaboratively to renew lands and resources. The achievements of the Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative have been realized through the outstanding participation of diverse organizations on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

The St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, also known as the Huron-Erie corridor, are the international waters that connect Lake Huron to Lake Erie and provide habitat for over 65 species of fish. The region, which includes the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge, is part of the central Great Lakes flyway for millions of migratory waterfowl. It contains some of the largest and most diverse wetlands remaining in the region.

Environmental changes in the corridor over time have resulted in the loss of habitat for fish and other organisms. In 2002, Michigan Sea Grant led a multi-partner project to construct fish spawning habitat in the Detroit River. This collaborative effort led to the creation of the Huron Erie Corridor Initiative.

Highlights of Michigan Sea Grant and the Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative:

  • In total, Michigan Sea Grant has managed more than $3.7 million dollars to support the restoration and evaluation of fish spawning habitat in the St. Clair-Detroit River System.
  • Michigan Sea Grant is a founding member of the initiative’s steering committee, which includes federal, tribal, state, provincial, local and non-governmental partners.
  • Since the first restoration project at Belle Isle, Sea Grant has been the lead organization for three fish habitat restoration grants and will oversee reef construction efforts at two additional sites in 2014.
  • By the end of the 2014, Initiative partners will have created nearly 10 acres of deep water, rocky spawning habitat for lake sturgeon, walleye and lake whitefish in the St. Clair-Detroit River System, helping boost populations of these valuable fish.
  • Post-restoration assessment has found more than 14 native fish species, including lake sturgeon, lake whitefish and walleye are using the reefs to spawn.

The partners developed a plan to increase habitat for lake whitefish, lake sturgeon, walleye and other native fish populations, based on research suggesting that water flow, depth and temperature are important in the placement of spawning reefs. Pre- and post-construction monitoring demonstrated an immediate response by more than 14 native fish species, including spawning by the commercially important lake whitefish, which was a first in over a century; use by the globally rare northern madtom; and spawning by lake sturgeon, which is listed as a threatened species in both Michigan and Ontario.

Michigan Sea Grant has contributed to the Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative in a variety of other ways, including group facilitation, conference planning, website development, research coordination and grant management of several fish spawning reef habitat construction projects and education and outreach.

To learn more about the Initiative, see:

For more information on Michigan Sea Grant’s role, see: