Grants: Water Resources

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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.

Comparing habitat use and movement patterns of Saginaw Bay sturgeon

Jun 2021

Lake Sturgeon reintroduction efforts are taking place in Saginaw Bay and throughout the Great Lakes, largely without data pertaining to post-stocking survival, dispersal, and habitat use. Data on these parameters can be used to formulate management strategies to ensure long-term restoration goals are achieved. The goal of the Saginaw Bay Lake Sturgeon recovery programs is to create a self-sustaining genetically diverse adult population with numbers ranging between 750 – 1,500 individuals. While methods used to carry out restoration program goals vary, Fingerling stocking is one method being used to restore populations where remnant individuals do not exist and suitable habitat is available. Managers determine the number of Lake Sturgeon to be stocked in each system using life-stage specific (YOY, juvenile, adult) survival rates. However, in many systems where these stocking programs exist, mangers are using estimates that may not be appropriate for the system. The Saginaw River System is the only tributary in Lake Huron where an extirpated population is being supported by two different stocking strategies (steam-side and traditional). Therefore, paired stocking in this system in each of four tributaries (Cass, Shiawassee, Tittabawassee, and Flint) allows a unique opportunity to compare survival, dispersal and habitat use between these two methods. This proposal seeks to support a new acoustic array receiver system in Saginaw Bay that will be used to track planted sturgeon to determined location fidelity, spawning behavior and overall movement in the Saginaw system and beyond.

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.