Grants: Water Resources

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Davisburg Mill Pond Dam Removal and Restoration

Jan 2021

This project is a joint effort of Oakland County Parks and Recreation and Springfield Township, is the removal of the Mill Pond Dam, and the restoration of the natural stream channel and adjacent wetlands. The Shiawassee River corridor has been a decades-long priority for Springfield Township, who owns and actively manages approximately 670 acres of preserves along the corridor. The 2000 Shiawassee and Huron Headwaters Resource Preservation Project identified several ecologically/recreationally important "application areas" within the headwaters, including the Shiawassee River corridor both upstream and downstream of the Mill Pond. The Mill Pond is an impounded area of the river behind a deteriorating dam that was traditionally used for recreation purposes. Stagnant water has resulted in an explosion of invasive Eurasian water milfoil that prevents further intensive recreation and threatens the ecological health of the pond and adjacent unique prairie fen habitat. This restoration of the Shiawassee River would return the river to a more natural state supporting native fish and wildlife and the adjacent high-quality natural communities.

Smiths Crossing Bridge Preservation and Fishing Access

Jan 2021

In 2005 the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN) supported the region's first green infrastructure plan (Vision of Green), completed by the Saginaw Bay Greenways Collaborative. In 2009, a subsequent study was completed by the Great Lakes bay Regional Trail (GLBRT) showing the proposed linkages to connect Midland, Bay and Saginaw Counties via non-motorized transportation and began the process of assigning routes and a budget to the connections. Both of these studies listed the Smiths Crossing Bridge as the key connection between the trails in Midland and Saginaw counties. The GLBRT is currently fundraising for the bridge, which is one of only six surviving examples of a "multi-span bridge in Michigan, and has included fishing access at this point as an important value-added component of the project. The Tittabawassee River is known state-wide, and even across the Midwest, for its phenomenal fishery. From early ice-out in the Spring which provides access to one of the world's greatest walleye fisheries (during the open season) to the summer and fall when bass fishing, especially small-mouth bass, takes center stage - people from far and wide flock to this region for fishing opportunities. However, like most of the rivers in our region, sites for public access to this fishery are limited. As WIN has indicated with its priorities and past investments, when opportunities to provide public access to our rivers, especially for fishing access, those opportunities should not be overlooked. Especially in situations where there is broad public support, investment opportunity should be looked at closely and taken advantage of when possible.

Shiawassee National Water Trail Mile Marker Project

Jan 2021

In September 2020, the Shiawassee River was designated a National Water Trail by the U.S. National Park Service. It is one of only 33 nationally-designated water trails in the country, and one of four in Michigan. The project was the culmination of work that began in 2017 by the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition that used a grant from Saginaw Bay WIN to develop maps, coordinate communities, and ultimately file the application with the National Park Service. There is a need for mile markers along the Shiawassee River spanning the Holly to Chesaning 88 mile length of the newly established National Water Trail. The first seven miles starting in Holly were installed with the assistance of Saginaw Bay WIN grant funding and will serve as the model for the rest of the paddling trail as it crosses 23 municipalities/agencies in Genesee, Shiawassee and Saginaw counties. These communities have joined collaboration, the Shiawassee River Paddling Coalition, and are committed to promoting the trail. It is proposed that WIN would support 40% of the cost of the signs, with local partners supplying 60% of the cost.

Chippewa River Erosion and Canoe Launch Project

Jan 2021

This project is proposed by the Isabella County Parks and Recreation Department and is focused on Deerfield Nature Park on the Chippewa River. Deerfield Nature Park is a 591-acre park in the Chippewa River watershed managed by Isabella County Parks, situated 7 miles west of Mount Pleasant in Isabella County, protecting more than 2 miles of the Chippewa River, as well as the surrounding riparian buffer and associated woodlands. It also serves to connect 4 other area parks to the main Deerfield property. Improving/rebuilding the launches and adding the new launch will: stabilize the river banks in the area of the launches; prevent further erosion caused by high foot traffic at the launches; and create a safer, more stable launch area for visitors. Providing new and improved launches and repairing erosion damage in the upriver area of the County Parks will help maintain water quality downriver, provide more accessibility to the river for visitors, and protect the riparian areas from further erosion and degradation from natural and human forces.

Curwood Castle Park Paddlecraft Landing

Jan 2021

Proposed by the Friends of the Shiawassee in cooperation with the City of Owosso, this project intends to construct a paddlecraft landing in downtown Owosso to serve the largest water trail town on the recently designated National Water Trail. This would become the 28th access point on the water trail, several of which were supported by WIN, and fill one of the most significant and accessible gaps in the system. The location is functionally dominant in its downtown location and will foster appreciation of the heart of Euro-American settlement history in the watershed — that is, Curwood Castle Historic Park. The park name Curwood recognizes James Oliver Curwood, one of Michigan’s most prominent conservationists and wildlife authors. The navigable 88-mile water trail offers low impact recreation and with the water trail designation, a suitable addition to local tourism and economic development.

Flint River Ecology Study

Dec 2019

Proposed by University of Michigan – Flint, this project aims to research the Flint River and stream bank morphology, as well as the biological diversity and their contaminant load above and below the Hamilton Dam (now a weir) before and after the Flint River Restoration Project. Additionally, the goal would be to increase the recreational activities happening on the river by decreasing fear of the water in the community through the “It’s not the River” campaign. We will highlight the ideas behind the "It's Not the River" campaign by determining the diversity of fish species and a measure of their abundance, as well as the diversity of benthic macroinvertebrate species that serve as indicators of the health of the ecosystem. A representative sample of the fish caught will also be tested for heavy metal contamination, and the water in this area will be tested for E.coli. This research project will also map the bathymetry of the Flint River in this area, as well as the streambanks in this area, as the dam will be removed and replaced with rock rapids and some vegetation along the streambanks will be restored. This four year project will highlight changes in the river, fisheries population and ecology pre and post-dam removal. There is a significant public communication component as well.

Lower Cedar River Corridor Enhancement

Dec 2019

The Cedar River is an important natural and recreational resource in the area, including one of the only stretches of Blue Ribbon Trout Stream in the Saginaw Bay Watershed. Due to the high quality of the resources found within the Cedar River Watershed (CRW), it supports a very diverse recreational base. These uses include: canoeing, fishing, hiking, trapping, hunting, boating, skiing and wildlife watching. The CRW supports a variety of recreational activities that provide a great boost to the local economy. The high quality of the resource base is one of the reasons the public comes to this area and many would call it a recreational destination. The resource base is a great source of quality of life to the area residents as well as visitors who end up becoming residents. The Gladwin Conservation District is seeking $10,000 to aid in the removal and/or relocation of obstructions along the lower Cedar River Corridor from City of Gladwin North Park to Ross Lake Park, with the goal of making it viable for several forms of recreational activities. These funds will leverage an additional $10,000 towards improving the lower stretch of the Cedar River. The project also supports a public involvement effort, tree planting and restoration activities. The project will also result in a completed plan that further assesses obstructions and opportunities for increased access.

Wickes Park EZ Launch

Dec 2018

The City of Saginaw, in collaboration with Saginaw County Parks and Recreation and the Cass River Greenway plan to revitalize the Wickes Park launch site, the 13th and final stop on the Cass River Water Trail. The addition of the Wickes Park site as the final stop on the Cass River Water Trail adds the final leg of the water trail from the Cass River launch on M-13 to Wickes Park, a paddle which includes traveling through the Shiawassee Wildlife Refuge corridor as well as the Shiawassee River convergence with the Tittabawasee River, at the southern end of the Saginaw River. This revitalization will include the installation of an EZ Launch all-access system (similar to all-access facilities supported in the past by WIN on the Tittabawassee and Cass), Cass River Water Trail map signage and an interpretive sign. The Cass River Greenway’s addition of the Wickes Park launch site as the 13th and final access point on the Cass River Water Trail included the City of Saginaw in the already numerous municipal cooperative efforts involved in making the water trail possible. This regional synergy will provide environmental and recreational benefits for generations to come. Additionally, the location of the Wickes Park launch site provide future opportunities for the location to serve as the end point of the Tittabawassee River Trail and the starting point of the Saginaw

Shiawassee River Access at Fish Lake Road

Dec 2018

This project seeks funding to improve a site along the upper Shiawassee River by installing an access point, signage, and traffic safety improvements. Proposed by Headwaters Trails, the site is a key point in the upper stretch of river that is part of the proposed state/national water trail from Holly to Chesaning along the Shiawassee. The WIN funds are proposed to match a pending grant from the MDNR Recreation Passport program. The site was purchased by Headwaters Trail with local fundraising and this funding will support the access improvements. The site has also been identified as a key recreational amenity in the Holly Township Master Recreation Plan linking the river access with walking trails and connection to the Village of Holly and Seven Lakes State Park.

Chippewa River Canoe/Kayak Access Site

Dec 2018

Under development by the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, this site will be located in a 24-mile gap along the Chippewa River that currently has no access. The Chippewa River Canoe/Kayak Access Site will open up an underutilized section of the Chippewa River for activities such as kayaking, canoeing, fishing and wildlife viewing. Located 10 minutes east of Mt. Pleasant, MI and 20 minutes west of Midland, MI, Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's (CWC) 3.4 acre Stephen and Agnes Szok Riverbend Preserve protects a high bluff of mature forest land and 1,000 feet of important riparian corridor. The moderate pace of the current on this section of river offers excellent paddling opportunities, but the lack of adequate public access has resulted in minimal use of the this outstanding resource. Boulders and large woody debris offer outstanding habitat for smallmouth bass, bald eagles, river otters and great blue herons. The steep embankment at the site requires infrastructure for appropriate utilization, and the site will also include stairs, a launch platform and informational kiosk.

City of Gladwin Cedar River Access Site Improvements

Dec 2018

Proposed by the City of Gladwin, this proposal contemplates improvements at a city park area that is experiencing increased use as a put-in / take-out site along the Cedar River. The project would be located in the City Park, adjacent to downtown and will include the development of an access platform similar to projects funded by WIN along the Cass and Shiawassee Rivers. Because of increased use and requests for use, the City of Gladwin Parks Dept began a float tube rental program and in the last two year rented nearly 200 tube/trips down the river. The park is the main site for that activity and also hosts hundred of canoe/kayak trips annually. However, the site is not properly designed for this increased use, so the City is raising funds for these improvements

Au Gres Harbor Kayak Launch and Access Improvements

Dec 2018

Proposed by the City of Au Gres, the Au Gres Harbor ADA Kayak Launch is part of an ongoing series of improvements at the Au Gres Harbor of Refuge site which also includes a farmer’s market pavilion, splash pad, fishing access and more. This site provides access to over 50 miles of Lake Huron frontage, as well as 150 miles of river. The proposed ADA Kayak launch located on the Au Gres River in the City of Au Gres is centrally located for easy access to the Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron connecting to the Blue Water Trail project. This water route was created in 2013 and is underutilized due to the lack of publicity in this area and the lack of a safe secure launch to support paddlers of any kind. Access to these bodies of water will give participants the experience to view the many waterfowl and wildlife along the northern coastline of Saginaw Bay and the Au Gres River system. The ADA Kayak launch is planned as the first phase of developing the area into a kayak destination. The City of Au Gres has three other parcels of riverfront property available for future development in creating a quick in/out and rest stop for kayakers and canoeists. These sites are also included in the community master plan. Securing an ADA Kayak Launch is crucial to the overall project because silent water activities are the largest sector in the tourism industry for Arenac County