Saginaw Bay receives one million dollar grant to build new reefs

Apr 13, 2018

The US Environmental Agency announced a roughly one million dollar grant to Saginaw County Thursday to improve fish habitat in Saginaw Bay.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will spearhead the project, which consists of building two reefs in the bay.

Dave Fielder is with the Michigan DNR. He said the grant is intended to help grow fish populations in the bay - mainly walleye and whitefish.

“The Great Lakes don’t have coral reefs of course but we have rock reefs and they are important habitat for spawning fishes to provide the substrate necessary so the eggs can incubate, get the right amount of oxygen, not get eaten by predators, and not get covered up by sediment.”

Fielder said the new reefs will replace natural rock reefs in the bay that were slowly eroded over the last 80 years.

“We want to make sure that it’s deep enough that it’s not going to be a navigation issue for anybody but at the same time that it’ll be a little bit wave-swept, they’ll be some water and current moving across it so it’ll be sediment free, and to keep the eggs oxygenated so they’ll spawn on these.”

Fielder said He said the project is expected to be complete in about a year and a half.

The grant comes through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which assists in environmental projects in the region.

An additional 25 thousand dollars will come from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.