Grants Approved January 2016

The mission of the Fund for Lake Michigan is to support efforts, and in particular those in southeastern Wisconsin, that enhance the health of Lake Michigan and its shoreline and tributary river systems for the benefit of the communities that depend upon the system for water, recreation and commerce.  Since 2011, the Fund has awarded 158 grants totaling over $11.3 million to non-profit organizations and local government agencies to improve the health of Lake Michigan.   In January, the Fund approved the following 26 grants totaling $1,368,700. 

Lake Michigan Shoreline Projects ($585,500)

  • City of Algoma - $75,000 to improve water quality and reduce the number of beach closures at Crescent Beach.  This two-mile long beach in Kewaunee County is a popular destination for both residents and visitors and is important to the local economy.   Water quality at Crescent Beach, however, is poor and the beach is on the state’s impaired list due to high levels of bacteria and outbreaks of cladophora.
  • Harbor District, Inc.  - $40,000 to lead and coordinate efforts to sustainably redevelop and revitalize Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor.   Along with acting as the Project Manager for the City of Milwaukee on a Water and Land Use plan for the area, HDI will advance efforts to clean up contaminated sediments in and around the harbor and will work with individual property owners to improve habitat and reduce polluted runoff into the lake.
  • Lakeshore Natural Resources Partnership - $30,000 to increase the scope and scale of LNRP’s small grants program. Grants are awarded to conservation organizations in eastern Wisconsin to build capacity and to implement on-the-ground restoration and water quality projects.
  • Ozaukee County - $38,500 to identify sources of E. coli that are compromising water quality at Harrington Beach State Park.   Over 125,000 individuals visit Harrington Beach State Park each year, making it one of the most popular beaches along Lake Michigan.  Yet exceptionally high levels of bacteria and the presence of E.coli have led to routine beach closings and unhealthy swimming conditions at the park.
  • Racine County - $35,000 to evaluate the condition of existing infrastructure within the Racine Harbor and to identify opportunities for restoration and water quality improvements such as treating storm water runoff, improving riparian habitat, stabilizing banks and reducing weed and algae growth in the harbor.
  • Natural Resources Foundation - $60,000 to evaluate how coastal development affects shoreline erosion and how those impacts can be mitigated. Ultimately this study will inform restoration efforts at Kenosha Dunes State Natural Area and Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area.
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences - $190,000 to create Harbor Habitat Map that identifies the diversity and location of existing fish forage and spawning habitat in the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC) with a specific focus on the harbor.  The results will help the DNR and other stakeholders improve habitat for a range of fish species including possibly yellow perch, a popular sport fish.
  • University of Wisconsin-Sea Grant - $17,000 to measure the impacts of beach restoration projects on local communities in Wisconsin. The study will focus on six beaches along Lake Michigan.
  • Woodland Dunes Nature Center - $100,000 to restore Forget-Me-Not Creek, a two-mile stream that runs through the nature center’s 1315-acre preserve and flows into Lake Michigan just south of Two Rivers.   Woodland Dunes will remove fish barriers near the mouth of the stream and will restore upstream wetlands to substantially improve habitat and water quality.

Menominee River Watershed ($84,000)

  • River Alliance of Wisconsin - $84,000 to support the final phases of one of the largest fish passage projects in the country. With a grant from the Fund, partners will purchase equipment to track the movement of sturgeon in the river following major investments in fish passage at two hydroelectric dams. 

Milwaukee River Watershed ($281,000)

  • City of Glendale - $20,000 to use green infrastructure to demonstrate the use of stormwater BMPs at the new Glendale-Nicolet Recreational Park near the Milwaukee River.  As a recreational and community facility, the site is an ideal location to raise public awareness and showcase best practices in this densely developed community.
  • City of Milwaukee - $25,000 to design and test a new pilot program to encourage private property owners to retrofit existing parking lots with green infrastructure. The pilot program will offer financial incentives to businesses in an area of the city that is prone to flooding and basement backups.
  • Greater Milwaukee Committee - $60,000 to create a linear park along the recently-completed Beerline Recreational Trail as part of the Beerline Trial Neighborhood Development Project, a collaboration convened by the Greater Milwaukee Committee and Riverworks Development Corporation.  Funding will support the development of a stormwater management plan for the park, green infrastructure demonstration projects on rehabilitated houses near the trail, and a new We Grow Greens greenhouse with related programming
  • River Revitalization Foundation - $120,000 to improve river access, create in-stream habitat, reduce runoff and restore a steep bluff along the Milwaukee River near Capitol Drive on Milwaukee’s north side.  As part of the project, RRF will work with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps crews to connect the site to an extensive network of pedestrian trails trail within the 878-acre Milwaukee River Greenway.
  • Ozaukee Washington Land Trust - $21,000 to work with the City of Mequon and other partners to develop a strategic plan for land protection within the city.  The plan will identify high priority opportunities for land acquisition and restoration with a specific focus on water quality, wildlife habitat and farmland preservation.
  • Village of Grafton - $35,000 to stabilize 1,200 of shoreline at Veteran’s Memorial Park along the Milwaukee River using green materials and native plantings.  The project is part of a larger effort to increase public access and recreational opportunities at the three-acre park in downtown Grafton.

Menomonee River Watershed ($80,000)

  • Forest Exploration Center - $20,000 to develop a green infrastructure and stormwater management plan as part of a larger effort to restore and develop recreational and educational facilities at this 67-acre wooded site along the Menomonee River in Wauwatosa.
  • The Water Council - $60,000 to work with two facilities within the Menomonee Valley to fully implement the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s (AWS) new water standard similar to LEED certification for buildings.  This will be the first time a site in North America has gone through the AWS process and the experience will set an example for other entities that are looking to improve their water footprint.

Oak Creek Watershed ($25,000)

  • Milwaukee County Parks - $25,000 to work with municipalities and other stakeholders within the Oak Creek Watershed on a detailed restoration plan for the watershed.   The plan will serve as a guide to future watershed improvements and investments by providing a detailed and prioritized list of recommended projects and related cost estimates to improve water quality.

Root River Watershed ($72,000)

  • Hunger Task Force - $22,000 to restore 13 acres along the Root River at the 208-acre Hunger Task Force Farm in Franklin.   Crews from Hunger Task Force will stabilize streambanks, remove invasive species and conduct prescribed burns.
  • Root-Pike Watershed Initiative - $50,000 to help municipalities, landowners and other stakeholders implement the recommendations of the recently completed Watershed Restoration Plans for Wind Point and the Pike and Root Rivers.


Pike River Watershed ($47,500)

  • Kenosha County - $47,500 to design plans to curb streambank erosion along 4,300 linear feet of the Pike River in Petrifying Springs County Park. Erosion is a major issue for the river, particularly in the upper reaches, and impacts water quality and recreational activities at this popular park.

Multiple Watersheds ($178,700)

  • Great Lakes Community Conservation - $18,700 to support AmeriCorps crews in southeast Wisconsin.  These crews will work in partnership with several community organizations to improve water quality and fish passage, eradicate invasive species, and help to implement residential best management practices for managing stormwater.

  • Southeast Wisconsin Watersheds Trust - $60,000 to support Sweet Waters’ Mini-Grant Program which provides grants of up to $5,000 for small-scale habitat, restoration and green infrastructure projects that improve water quality in the Milwaukee area.
  • Milwaukee County - $60,000 to restore habitat and reduce runoff and sedimentation at eight riparian and lakefront sites within the Milwaukee County Park System.  Students from local colleges and high schools will help with plantings and will learn about restoration through in-class lectures and workshops.

Yahara River Watershed ($60,000)

  • Clean Lakes Alliance - $60,000 to conduct research on the impact windrow composting, a new manure management practice, has on water quality.  This practice is becoming popular, particularly on large dairy farms, and may be a tool to reduce phosphorus in Lake Michigan.

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