Grants: Water Resources

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Camp Shiawassee Canoe Launch Project

Dec 2023

Proposed by the Shiawassee Family YMCA, this project includes the additional of two access sites ath the YMCA camp’s 180-acre property that includes 13,500 feet of frontage on the Shiawassee River. Of note, 140 acres of the property was recently encumbered by a conservation management plan and permanent conservation easement, largely funded by the Cook Family Foundation. These launches mirror other access sites that have been completed along the Shiawassee, most of which have been funded – at least in part - by WIN. These sites are also along the Shiawassee River National Water Trail, planning and implementation also funded by WIN.

Sanback Dam Removal & Stream Restoration Design Phase

Jul 2023

Proposed by Huron Pines, this request is for the design and permitting phase to fully remove Sanback Dam, located on Beach Creek in Rose City, MI (Ogemaw County; Rifle River Watershed). The existing structure is a high hazard dam in severely deteriorating condition that presents immediate safety hazards to individuals walking on or near the structure (e.g., risks of falls, cuts, or potentially even drowning) as it is located on City property. If the dam were to fail, it could endanger people downstream, would likely damage property and transportation infrastructure downstream, and would severely degrade important coldwater stream habitat downstream (large amounts of fine sediment from the impoundment would wash downstream and inundate important gravel habitat crucial for fish reproduction and aquatic invertebrate habitat, and the high turbidity could cause direct mortality to trout and other aquatic species in Houghton Creek.

Shiawassee Access and Riverfront Development

Jul 2023

The Village of Byron, in partnership with Byron Area Schools, proposes to develop a publicly accessible riverfront viewing platform as one component of their Economic & Public Space initiative along the Shiawassee River. In recent months, the Village of Byron has retained the services of Lionbear Ventures (LBV), Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP) and C2AE to enhance the accessibility, safety, and overall recreational experience within the village. The plan under development will catalyze the redevelopment of their commercial corridor by attracting new commerce, residents and visitors. In 2012, Byron experienced a fire that destroyed 7 sites in the downtown area. This area is now known as the Brownfield site. Since 2012, the village and school system have been experiencing a decline in population and plan to address this challenge through a partnership focused on leveraging the county's premier resource: access to the Shiawassee River National Water Trail.

Smith Park Fishing Access

Jan 2023

The City of Essexville’s Smith Park includes a boat launch, park and recreation area approximately 1.5 miles from the mouth of Saginaw Bay. It is a park of high use by motor boats and kayaks, as it is identified as a key location on the Saginaw Bay Water Trail. While the park is large, fishing opportunities are limited by an irregular riverbank, pilings and concrete that was once used at the site in a failed attempt at erosion control. With WIN assistance and support, Essexville has applied for and received preliminary approval, pending match, for a $150,000 federal grant for park improvements, with special focus on fishing. WIN funding assists the community in raising the required $150,000 match. The Essexville DDA had committed to supporting whatever portion of match is not raised. The WIN funds would be dedicated to the development of the floating fishing pier.

Finn Road Park Improvements

Jan 2023

Proposed by the Hampton Township, WIN funds support improvements at the township’s Finn Road Park located along the shoreline of Saginaw Bay. This park is one of only a handful of locations along lower Saginaw Bay that provides public access to the bay. Improvements at the site include native plantings and restoration, a universally accessible kayak launch, parking improvements and a new playground area. The WIN funds requested will be used specifically for the kayak launch and native plant rain garden. This site will join a previous WIN grant to the City of Caseville as only the second site on eastern Saginaw Bay with an ADA compliant kayak launch. This proposed WIN grant will support and leverage an additional applied-for state grant of $300,000 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

An updated Development/Capital Improvement Plan for the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition

Dec 2022

The Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition was awarded funding to update and publicly distribute their Development/Capital Improvement Plan for the next five years. In 2017, the Coalition submitted its initial Development Plan to the U.S. National Park Service for consideration as a “National Water Trail”. WIN funding supported, in part, the development of that original plan and application for National Water Trail designation. The Shiawassee River National Water Trail is one of only 35 designated as such in the United States, and one of only 4 in Michigan. There are currently twenty-four public launch sites on the Shiawassee River, between Holly, MI and Chesaning, MI which is inclusive of two new additional locations (Holly Township and City of Owosso) have been completed this fall (2022). While each of the launch sites are owned by their respective local unit of governments or non-profit, the Development Plan/Capital Improvement Plan seeks to enhance each launch location with similar amenities such as restroom facilities, kayak lockers, paved pervious parking lot, drinking fountains, handicap accessible launch facility (where appropriate), signage, etc. It is expected that local partners that make up the Coalition (currently thirty-four organizations) will seek grant funding for the improvements to their respective launch facilities once the capital improvements plan is complete. Additionally, because that we understand that funding for the effort will always be in demand, the Coalition is working towards creating a Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) district that would provide annual funding from TIFA capture to provide a funding stream. However, to develop and advocate for this TIFA district, the capital improvement plan to help “sell” the idea to the respective local governments along the trail. Overall, this Development/Capital Improvement plan is an important discrete undertaking of a project that the Coalition is embarking on that would create a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district for the Shiawassee River.

Economic Impact of Nature Based Recreation - Professional Bass Fishing in Bay City

Dec 2022

The economic impact of nature is notoriously hard to measure, yet at WIN we have worked for two decades to ensure that our partners give the “economy” some thought as they design their projects. To that end, more than 15 years ago, Saginaw Bay WIN initiated the “Fisheries Scoping Study” that helped identify where WIN could be most impactful as it relates to Saginaw Bay’s (and the watershed’s 7,000 miles of rivers and streams) fisheries, from an economic, community and environmental perspective. In addition to dam removal, restoration actions, and other tactical activities, there was a recommendation to further promote the fishery and support projects that had clear economic benefit. Saginaw Bay’s recreational fishery has been estimated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) as being worth more than $30 million in economic activity annually. Communities across the region rely on this fishery as part of their matrix of economic support. However, there seems to be a decided lack of appreciation across the region for the importance of this fishery to the community and the economic opportunities that are presented by it. Despite being host to thousands of recreational fishermen throughout the year, there has been minimal effort to capitalize and expand on this from an economic perspective, ostensibly because there is very little data to support it. In 2023, there is an opportunity – actually two opportunities – to evaluate the economic impact of fishing related events. In July 2023, Bay City will host the first of two nationally sanctioned professional bass fishing tournaments. The first event – the National Professional Fishing League – will bring 180 anglers from across the country to Bay City for more than a week for one of their fishing tournaments. The second, Bass Pro Shops Major League Fishing, will bring nearly 100 anglers, along with tournament support staff to Bay City for their August tournament. These are the two top leagues of bass fishing in the United States, and it presents unprecedented opportunity to showcase both our natural resources, and to measure the economic impact that these events provide.

Emerson Park Riverfront Renovation

Jun 2022

Midland’s Emerson Park is a high-use park located in the City of Midland, immediately adjacent to the Tittabawassee River. This project joins an earlier phase in which an abandoned pump house was converted to an overlook. Development at upper Emerson Park is designed to improve the Tittabawassee riverfront at the confluence of Sturgeon Creek to create a welcoming pedestrian green space. Two accessible pathways will connect the project site to the adjacent Pere Marquette Rail Trail where trail users can step off the Rail Trail to visit the site for universally accessible views of the river with accessible picnic locations and seating available to provide opportunities to enjoy riverfront wildlife viewing. Overlook platforms on either side of the confluence will provide fishing opportunities at the mouth of the creek with new accessible railings along the existing seawall to allow for riverfront fishing. Improvements will continue onto the Pere Marquette Rail Trail where an existing pedestrian bridge in between the pathways leading to the riverfront will receive new decking and a railing system that will open up universal viewing of the Sturgeon Creek and Tittabawassee River. In addition, ground work will be conducted along the riverbank to remove existing materials and restore with native plantings. WIN funds are dedicated to the native plantings and the fishing access. WIN funds will also leverage a proposed grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Caseville Riverside Park Development and Water Trailhead Project

Dec 2021

Riverside Park Development and Water Trailhead Project – Proposed by the City of Caseville, WIN funds would support the construction of an ADA compliant kayak launch and lift at Riverside Park. WIN funding would compliment a recently approved grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund that is supporting multiple features at the park, including two new boat launches and erosion protection. This park sits at the connection of the Saginaw Bay Water Trail and the Tip of the Thumb Water Trail, making it a key site for accessing both areas of Saginaw Bay. This will be the first ADA accessible launch on the eastern side of Saginaw Bay. The site was recently acquired from private owners by the city, which has evolving plans to make this site the showcase park on Saginaw Bay.

West Branch Tittabwassee River Dam Removal

Dec 2021

This project will fully remove the West Branch Tittabawassee River Dam which will reconnect 6.1 miles of rare Saginaw Bay Watershed high-quality coldwater habitat in this MDNR-Designated Trout Stream, reduce inputs of sediment and associated pollutants, and restore a suite of natural river functions. This obsolete concrete dam is located on a private property, but the benefits extend to the fish, other aquatic organisms, anglers, and other outdoor recreationists throughout this river system. The West Branch Tittabawassee River is a headwater stream of the greater Saginaw River Watershed, ultimately flowing into Saginaw Bay. The private landowner contacted Huron Pines voluntarily for assistance and is investing $40,000 in cash towards this project. Huron Pines has secured funding for engineering designs and permitting (permit is under review), and the requested WIN funding will be used to support construction costs for the dam removal and related restoration work at the project site. It should be noted that Saginaw Bay WIN provided an early, smaller, planning and design grant toward this project and we are now being asked to support the construction phase as a match against several larger grants.

Saginaw River Headwaters Fishing Pier

Dec 2021

Saginaw River Headwaters Rec Area, located in the City of Saginaw, Michigan, will open to the public in the Summer of 2022. This project tells the story of a broad-based coalition of public and private entities overcoming significant challenges and embracing a common vision to restore an important natural resource, while contributing to the revitalization of the community and providing a quality-of-life enhancement for an underserved urban population in the City. The project site is a long abandoned 334 acre, one million square foot automobile manufacturing complex, owned by General Motors Corporation and known as Saginaw Malleable Iron (SMI). The fishing pier addition will be only the second ADA compliant fishing access point on the Saginaw River in the City of Saginaw. The fishing pier will also incorporate educational and interpretive signage detailing the watershed and fishery. The project will leverage funding totaling over $500,000 from various sources, mainly the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee’s Round 2 funding.

Restoring the Shiawassee River and Enhancing Public Access at the Shiawassee Basin Preserve in Springfield Township

Jun 2021

This project will replace a failed, undersized concrete culvert that is currently degrading the headwaters of the upper Shiawassee River and adjacent wetlands with a new and environmentally friendly pedestrian crossing. Expected benefits will be the restoration of approximately 100' of stream channel, 200' of riparian habitat, reduced sediment inputs, increased aquatic connectivity and providing public access to approximately 25 acres of park land at the Shiawassee Basin Preserve in Springfield Township. This project is innovative because it will be occurring within a high quality natural area complex of wetlands, glacial lakes and streams, and habitat for numerous rare plant and wildlife species.