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Muskegon Lake Restoration: A Success Story


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Muskegon Lake, located in Muskegon, Mich., has been listed as a Great Lakes Area of Concern due to a significant loss of wildlife habitat and degraded water quality. This presentation will discuss how an organized grassroots effort has successfully received state and federal funding to implement large-scale ecological restoration projects throughout the lake.

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Muskegon Lake Restoration: A Success Story

  1. 1. <ul><ul><li>Kathy Evans, Program Manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>West Michigan Shoreline Regional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development Commission </li></ul></ul>Great Lakes Conference, October 2011 <ul><ul><li>Brian Majka </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Senior Restoration Ecologist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cardno JFNew </li></ul></ul>Muskegon Lake Restoration: A Success Story
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Historic Impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Public Involvement and Grass Roots Efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Turning Ideas into Project </li></ul><ul><li>Long Term Maintenance and Stewardship </li></ul><ul><li>Upcoming Projects </li></ul>
  3. 3. Muskegon Lake—A History
  4. 4. <ul><li>Muskegon Lake Shoreline during the Lumber Era </li></ul>Muskegon Lake - a History of Impacts
  5. 5. <ul><li>Post World War II Industrial Era </li></ul>Muskegon Lake – a History of Impacts
  6. 6. Muskegon Lake Area of Concern Muskegon Lake is a 4,232-acre drowned river-mouth lake, connected to Lake Michigan by a navigational channel. It was designated an AOC in 1985, and is one of 14 AOCs in Michigan.
  7. 7. Beneficial Use Impairments <ul><li>Beach Closings </li></ul><ul><li>Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Eutrophication or undesirable algae </li></ul><ul><li>Restrictions on drinking water consumption, or taste and odor </li></ul><ul><li>Degradation of fish and wildlife populations </li></ul><ul><li>Degradation of aesthetics </li></ul><ul><li>Degradation of benthos </li></ul><ul><li>Restriction on dredging activities </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of fish and wildlife habitat </li></ul>
  8. 8. Public Involvement and Grassroots Efforts
  9. 9. Community Stakeholders - Seeking Federal Cleanup Partners - Setting Goals and Priorities
  10. 10. Public Involvement in Great Lakes Legacy Act Cleanups State of the Lake Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) Award presented to City of Muskegon and Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership for the Ruddiman Creek GLLA Project in 2006. 204,000 lbs of chromium, 126,000 lbs of lead, 2,800 lbs of cadmium, 320 lbs of PCBs and 260 lbs of benzo (a) pyrene. $10.6 ml – Great Lakes Legacy Act & Clean Michigan Initiative
  11. 11. Muskegon Lake Division Street Outfall Cleanup Great Lakes Legacy Act/Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
  12. 12. Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat Muskegon Lake lost approximately 27% of its open water natural resources due to filling from the disposal of sawmill and foundry waste and land development. Broken concrete was commonly used to fill and stabilize the shoreline. Approximately 74% of the shoreline was hardened
  13. 13. Marine Debris – Sawmill and Foundry Waste, Broken Concrete
  14. 14. Marine Debris – Sawmill and Foundry Waste, Broken Concrete
  15. 15. A Community Vision Leads to a Fish and Wildlife Restoration Plan The Plan Guides Local Planning for On-the-Ground Restoration Projects
  16. 16. Community Involvement Setting AOC Restoration Targets
  17. 17. Shovel Ready <ul><li>MLWP Set Targets and Developed the Fish and Wildlife Restoration Plan in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>WMSRDC held a Community Forum in 2008 and identified 3 public and 7 private landowners, willing to restore habitat </li></ul><ul><li>Great Lakes Commission partnered with WMSRDC to apply for the NOAA Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Program (GLHRP) and NOAA expanded restoration in the Great Lakes Region with the Great Lakes Habitat and Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration and ARRA Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Over 50% of the restoration needed to restore habitat in the AOC will be complete in 2012 </li></ul>
  18. 18. NOAA Coastal & Marine Habitat Restoration & ARRA Program and Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Program <ul><li>Project Goals: </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological benefits for fish and wildlife </li></ul><ul><li>Progress on the restoration of beneficial uses and removal of BUIs through restoration and scientific monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>J ob creation and retention </li></ul><ul><li>Improvement of short- and long-term economic conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Public involvement and community outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Grant Project Team: </li></ul><ul><li>Grant Administrator Input Economic Public </li></ul><ul><li>Project Management Oversight & Scientific Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Contracts, Reporting Guidance Monitoring Involvement </li></ul>
  19. 19. Environmental Impact <ul><li>NOAA Project Restoration Goals: Percent of BUI Target Met: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soften 10,007 feet of Hardened Shoreline - 42% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restore 11.6 acres of Emergent Wetland - 16% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restore 15.6 acres of Open Water Wetland - 82% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remove/Improve 23.6 acres of Unnatural Lake Fill - 19% </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Muskegon Lake Today- Toward Recovery
  21. 21. Turning Ideas and Partnerships into Projects <ul><li>People </li></ul><ul><li>Technical analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Budgets </li></ul><ul><li>Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Successful projects must hit on social AND environmental aspects </li></ul>
  22. 22. Education, Education, Education
  23. 23. Site Analysis <ul><li>Fetch/Depth Across Fetch </li></ul><ul><li>Run-up </li></ul><ul><li>Orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetation </li></ul><ul><li>Adjacent Structures </li></ul><ul><li>Boats </li></ul><ul><li>Ice </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple property owners/sites around lake </li></ul><ul><li>Anecdotal knowledge is key </li></ul>
  24. 24. D’Alcorn Site--Shoreline
  25. 25. D’Alcorn Site--Shoreline
  26. 26. Grand Trunk--Wetlands <ul><li>7 Acres Restored </li></ul><ul><li>Unnatural Fill Removed. </li></ul><ul><li>Emergent and Open Water Wetland Restored. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Grand Trunk--Wetlands
  28. 28. Grand Trunk--Wetlands
  29. 29. Ruddiman Creek Mouth
  30. 30. Ruddiman Creek Mouth
  31. 32. Ruddiman/Amoco Restoration
  32. 33. Lakeshore Trail between Ruddiman Mouth and Amoco
  33. 34. Heritage Landing--Shoreline
  34. 35. Construction
  35. 36. Challenges <ul><li>Achieving balance </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing technical, social, and environmental </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophical—to restore or to create? </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t please everyone </li></ul>
  36. 37. Long Term Maintenance, Monitoring, and Stewardship
  37. 38. Volunteers Monitor Habitat <ul><li>Bird Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Canada’s Volunteer Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP) </li></ul><ul><li>Local Student Monitoring Programs </li></ul>
  38. 39. Landowner Management Plans
  39. 40. AWRI Pre-Post Restoration Monitoring – Fish and Macrophytes
  40. 41. Volunteers and Students Monitor Wetland Restoration Sites
  41. 42. Stewardship Maintenance Spotted Knapweed & White Clover <ul><li>Before Volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>After Volunteers </li></ul>
  42. 43. Grand Trunk Restoration Partners Annual Stewardship Day - May 13, 2011
  43. 44. Future Projects
  44. 45. Muskegon Lake Watershed Plan <ul><li>Muskegon River 319 </li></ul><ul><li>Bear Creek 319 </li></ul><ul><li>Muskegon Lake Phase II Stormwater </li></ul><ul><li>Ruddiman Creek TMDL </li></ul><ul><li>What’s left? </li></ul><ul><li>Ryerson, Green Creek, Four Mile Creek, DSO sub-basin </li></ul>
  45. 46. Historic Zephyr Photo Located between Muskegon River and Bear Creek in Muskegon Lake AOC
  46. 47. Muskegon River and Bear Creek Contaminated Soils and Surface Waters
  47. 48. Muskegon Lake - A History and a Future of Public Involvement and Volunteer Stewardship