Last Thursday, Rep. Dan Benishek (Mich. 1st) toured several restoration projects in his district that were funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council led the tour, which took Rep. Benishek to Tannery Creek and North Central Michigan College’s Stormwater Wetland.
Representative Benishek commented on his facebook page: “The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has been a leader in ensuring the Great Lakes and our other water resources are protected, I look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure the ‘Pure Michigan’ experience remains intact for future generations.” Rep. Benishek also recognized the role of the GLRI in funding the restoration projects he toured.
At Tannery Creek, an undersized culvert was replaced with a bridge, allowing water to flow more slowly under the roadway, thereby decreasing erosion and sediment build-up in Lake Michigan. North Central Michigan College’s Stormwater Wetland was constructed to provide natural filtration for stormwater runoff when it rains, while also providing a habitat for wildlife. Both projects help protect the health of the Great Lakes by slowing the flow of water off of the landscape before it reaches Lake Michigan, allowing the water to be filtered and for some of it to be absorbed into the watershed.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which funded both of
these projects, is a federal program tasked with restoring the Great Lakes. Projects like these, as well as other success stories we’ve catalogued, are helping to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Yet more work remains to keep the Great Lakes clean, with threats from outdated sewer infrastructure causing sewage overflows, nutrient build-up causing algal blooms and habitat destruction, and toxic contaminates from old industry slowly leaching into the lakes. These important restoration projects will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait. Fully funding the GLRI at $300 million each year is critical to helping the region restore our national treasure.
Check out our full list of field updates from other states and organizations here.