State receiving $5 million in grant funding for stream restoration
Fourteen Michigan counties will soon experience stream restoration work, thanks to a $5 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The grant will fund the removal of 27 stream barriers - obsolete dams or culverts - in order to restore fish passage.
Patrick Ertel is with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He said the engineering and final condition for the sites has already been planned, but the grant will help with state permitting, federal environmental review, and de-construction projects.
“Reconnection of river habitats is ultimately fixing mistakes of the past or fixing the conditions of infrastructure that's no longer needed,” Ertel said. “We prioritize projects based on their impact on the stream, and then we go in and try to restore the natural physics so that the stream can function like a stream wants to.”
Ertel said the funding will be distributed among local partners and removal of stream barriers will begin in 2023.
“One of the most joyous things of being granted this money for dam removal, is that we really had an opportunity to carry the weight for our partners and then hand the money back to them,” Ertel said.
Projects in Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Mackinac, Marquette, Mecosta, and Lake counties are among those receiving funding.
In the interest of transparency, we note the DNR is a financial supporter of WCMU.