FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 31, 2015
Contact: Vicki Elkin, Executive Director, Fund for Lake Michigan
Phone: 414-418-5008; 608-334-1473 (cell)
Aaron Brault, Director, Sheboygan County Planning and Conservation
Fund for Lake Michigan awards $75,000 grant to begin restoration at Amsterdam Dunes
Thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County will begin restoring sections of Amsterdam Dunes, one of the largest remaining stretches of undeveloped shoreline on the western side of Lake Michigan.
The 328-acre property includes rare sand dunes, towering bluffs, ecologically significant wetlands and roughly a half-mile of unspoiled shoreline.
"When the Fund heard about a chance to help improve this huge piece of property we couldn't wait to get more involved," said Vicki Elkin, executive director of the Fund for Lake Michigan.
Sheboygan County officials cheered the $75,000 grant announced this week as the next step in introducing more people to the unique landscape between Kohler-Andrae and Harrington Beach State Parks.
"The grant enables us to jumpstart the restoration process and opens the door for additional funding sources as we move forward,'' said Aaron Brault, director of planning and conservation for the county.
Sheboygan County recently acquired the property in the town of Holland for $4.2 million.
Plans include restoring 8,000 feet of streams that flow through the land, converting existing farm fields back to wetlands and preserving the entire parcel to help visitors imagine what Lake Michigan looked like before European settlers began traversing the waterway in the 1800s.
"We congratulate Sheboygan County for its incredible vision and for the magnitude of this project,'' Elkin said. "This meets several of the Fund's goals: improving Lake Michigan's water quality; enhancing wildlife habitat; and showcasing the many beaches, wildlife areas and scenic sites along Lake Michigan."
The Fund for Lake Michigan grant is one of 27 projects receiving $1.9 million in support this summer. A third of the projects are aimed specifically at beaches along Lake Michigan between Kenosha and Door County.
The Fund for Lake Michigan, a private foundation based in Milwaukee, was established in 2011 to safeguard the lake and improve water quality in the region. Crafted out of a legal settlement related to construction of the coal-fired power plants in Oak Creek, the Fund receives $4 million annually from the plants' owners, including We Energies, WPPI Energy, and Madison Gas and Electric. The Fund has awarded more than $11 million over the past four years for projects ranging from the restoration of Cat Island in Green Bay to the revitalization of Simmons Beach in Kenosha.