Priority Projects to Protect and Restore the Lake St. Clair Watershed
Projects in the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) are priorities for implementing the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair Comprehensive Management Plan. These projects address such issues as ecological restoration and protection, stormwater management, bacteria reduction, enhancement of recreational opportunities, etc. The Lake St. Clair project search tool can be used to search for priority projects in the Strategic Implementation Plan based on such variables as cost, project type, estimated project cost, Lake St. Clair plan priorities, community and watershed location. Project fact sheets are available for each project in the SIP.
Partner Recognition for Funding Awards
Several partners recently received Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding through the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries Program for two projects located within the Clinton River Watershed. SEMCOG congratulates the Office of the Macomb County Public Works Commissioner and the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority. NOAA released its 2014 Awards on Friday October 17, 2014.
St. Clair, MI ($648,000 awarded to the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority): Black Creek Marsh Coastal Wetland Restoration Project
This project will reconnect the Black Creek Marsh with Clinton River, restoring marsh habitat and increasing the diversity and abundance of fish species and other wildlife. The project will also increase recreational opportunities within the Lake St. Clair Metropark.
Clinton and Harrison Townships, MI ($2,511,800 awarded to the Macomb County Public Works Office): Clinton River Spillway Restoration - Phase I Implementation Project
This project will restore four areas within the spillway corridor including replacing an existing concrete rubble shoreline with a living shoreline and addressing invasive species. This project builds off of a previously funded GLRI award that supported the engineering and design of the restoration project.
Managing Invasive Species around Lake St. Clair
Over the last five years, approximately 3,500 acres of land has been chemically managed for Phragmites – mainly in Anchor Bay and St. Clair Flats ‒ at a cost of approximately $1.4 million (in mainly federal cost share).
Federal funding for Phragmites control around Lake St. Clair ended in June 2014. SEMCOG is working with its partners to develop a more local invasive species management structure. Because of the highly invasive nature and long distances that invasives such as Phragmites can move in a year, watersheds and subwatersheds in close proximity can infest and re-infest each other. Thus, a process to establish a series of connected but independent Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) is envisioned to effectively manage the spread of invasive species such as Phragmites australis within this tri-county target area in the Lake St. Clair, Huron River, and Shiawassee River Watersheds. Once established, the CISMAs would function independently but would network, communicate, and work jointly on management issues that cross CISMA boundaries. Partners in this endeavor are: Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality, county agencies, local governments, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan Sea Grant, local water fowl organization, and SEMCOG.
This joint CISMA process would permit input from landowners, organizations, and government agencies from across these watersheds in identifying Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) geographic boundaries, champions, and partners. The process would serve as a funding proposal to the Michigan DNR.
The Stewardship Network will provide assistance to the local, county, state government agencies, and organizations operating in the area in organizing CISMAs around geographic areas that make sense. The Stewardship Network provides operational support (technical assistance, website hosting, grant writing services, coordination, etc.) for numerous clusters that serve as CISMAs around the state. The Stewardship Network’s cluster management structure will be an option as a framework for establishing these CWMAs.
The process is now under way. Two CISMAs adjacent to one another have formed – the Lake St. Clair CISMA and the Oakland County CISMA. The Lake St. Clair CISMA has established its geographic boundary ‒ the entire Lake St. Clair Watershed in Southeast Michigan. Its Partnership Agreement is under development and will be signed by all members of the Partnership. The CISMA is being established within the structure of the Lake St. Clair/St. Clair River Protection and Restoration Partnership. A Steering Committee, advisory to the Partnership, has been established to carry out the work of the CISMA on behalf of the partnership. Responsibilities of the Steering Committee include the following:
- Receive invasive species management projects directly from Lake St. Clair Stakeholders (e.g. governments, non government organizations, and property owners) and directly from the partnership;
- Develop a yearly action plan of management activities and annual report;
- Assist in the coordination and/or undertaking of the management actions identified in its invasive species management activities within the Lake St. Clair watershed;
- Provide expertise, assist project sponsors in identifying funding options and coordinate grant applications for the parties relative to areas within the CISMA;
- Develop public education, outreach and training activities;
- Encourage cooperative relationships and active participation by all parties to this Partnership Agreement; and
- Actively seek volunteers, cooperators and alternate funding sources critical to the management success of the Lake St. Clair CISMA.