The Fund for Lake Michigan has made another round of innovative and collaborative investments in Wisconsin’s future.
Twenty projects – totaling $1.25 million in grants and leveraging an additional $5.36 million in federal, local and private dollars – will help build and educate Wisconsin’s workforce, support diverse communities, and strengthen economies throughout the state while improving Lake Michigan water quality.
“Our targeted investments pay dividends by reducing flooding, improving beach quality, boosting local economies and safeguarding Lake Michigan, a source of drinking water for millions,” said Vicki Elkin, executive director of the Fund for Lake Michigan. “Whether working in rural areas or in the heart of our cities the Fund helps Wisconsin in countless ways.”
A grant from the fund to the city of Two Rivers will help reconnect people with the city’s water resources by transforming the water’s edge of a vacant 12-acre site on the East Twin River into a riverfront park. Storm water infrastructure on the property, which once housed a factory, will reduce the amount of pollution entering Lake Michigan.
“I can’t say enough about how important this project is to our city’s revitalization plans,” said City Manager Greg Buckley. “The closure and removal of a large industrial complex from our downtown riverfront did real damage to the local economy. But it has also allowed Two Rivers to turn its face back to the water. Opening up the riverfront as a natural showcase for public recreation and tourism will grow our economy and mean so much to this community, our neighbors, and our visitors.”
Just up the Lake Michigan coast, new rain gardens and bio swales at Point Beach State Forest will reduce storm water runoff from the nature center and surrounding area. The result will be a cleaner, safer beach at this coastal state forest that attracts 400,000 visitors annually but has experienced frequent swimming advisories and beach closures in recent years.
Across the peninsula, students and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will design and install a shallow, 1.5-acre coastal wetland to naturally filter out sediments and pollutants.
The coastal wetland will reduce the impact of runoff into Green Bay and provide additional habitat for important wildlife while providing hands-on training for our future scientists and engineers.
Read the complete list of Fund for Lake Michigan grants at fundforlakemichigan.org.
The Fund for Lake Michigan was established in 2011 as part of an agreement between We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric, WPPI Energy, Clean Wisconsin and Sierra Club. The Fund supports a variety of projects to help Lake Michigan and its tributaries, including beach improvements, habitat restoration, shoreline enhancements and run off control. To date, the Fund has awarded $16.5 million in grants designed to boost recreation, protect the environment and spur economic development in the Milwaukee area and Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coast.