Grants totaling $30,000 have been awarded to four community projects aimed at protecting and enhancing the water quality of Lake Huron. The grants come from the Lake Huron Forever initiative, developed in 2019 by shoreline community foundation and conservation partners in the United States and Canada to advance water quality protection and sustainability on both sides of the lake.
The Lake Huron Forever initiative aims to support community conversation and action to design and complete on-the-ground work to strengthen the health and well-being of residents and their surrounding natural resources.
Grant recipients and their funded proposals are as follows:
City of Bay City, $10,000 for Destination Middlegrounds Renaturalization
Funding will support an ongoing shoreline restoration effort on Middlegrounds Island in the Saginaw River. The project will replace high maintenance turf grass with a wildflower meadow, improving benefits to wildlife while capturing and filtering stormwater runoff in partnership with Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy.
Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI), Northeast Michigan, $10,000 for green infrastructure through place-based stewardship education
The proposal will engage 15 northeast Michigan educators in professional development centered on green stormwater infrastructure, its relationship to water quality and its role in climate change mitigation. Educators will learn how to create projects that involve students in hands-on, nature-based solutions to stormwater, such as the installation of rain gardens, bioswales and planter boxes.
Alcona Community Schools, Harrisville, $5,000 for the installation of a rain garden at Harrisville Harbor
This is a student-led effort to install at least one rain garden at Harrisville Harbor to benefit water quality. Also proposed are events to collect trash, remove invasive plants and install native species to beautify and enhance the public harbor.
Michigan State University Extension, Rogers City, $5,000 for Sunrise Side Community Garden & stormwater capture
Funding will support the purchase of rain barrels, educational signage and rain garden planting at Sunrise Side Community Garden.
Funding for the Michigan projects is made possible by Consumers Energy Foundation and their Planet Award program. Bay Area Community Foundation received funding support from this program in 2021 to advance the goals and vision of Lake Huron Forever in Michigan communities.
Diane Mahoney is President and CEO of Bay Area Community Foundation. Bay City became a Lake Huron Forever Community in November when the city commission pledged to protect the water quality of Lake Huron by curbing stormwater runoff, planting trees and improving natural areas while inspiring community members to take action.
“The combination of these projects represents a region-wide commitment to the protection of Lake Huron,” Mahoney said. “I’m particularly excited about the award for Bay City because it directly supports the efforts of a Lake Huron Forever Community and their commitment to water quality.”
Patrick Heraghty is Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Northeast Michigan, a partner of the Lake Huron Forever initiative.
“The initiative strives to engage communities and activate collaborations with the goal of sustaining Lake Huron,” Haughty said. “It can be tailored to support on-the-ground solutions to stormwater management and we’re seeing that in the projects which were awarded funding. It’s great to see the momentum that’s building up and down the Northern Michigan coast.”
Grants have also been awarded through Lake Huron Forever with funding support from Bruce Power in Ontario. Those recipients are Lake Huron Coastal Centre, Stewardship Grey Bruce, Grey Sable Conservation Authority and Manitoulin Streams. Their projects combine educational and on-the-ground activities that improve community health and natural resources and advance the mission of the Lake Huron Initiative lakewide.