- LAKE SUPERIOR SHORELINE RESTORATION
- LAKE SUPERIOR DUNE RESTORATION
- GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS RESTORATION
- SALMON TROUT RIVER RESTORATION
- WATER QUALITY MONITORING
- NATIVE PLANTS
- WATERSHED PLANS
- INVASIVE SPECIES
PROTECTING WILDERNESS AREAS
The SWP has partnered with the Hiawatha National Forest and the Ottawa National Forest to better protect, restore and monitor numerous wilderness areas throughout the Upper Peninsula. Wilderness areas include:
- Big Island Canoe Wilderness
- Rock River Canyon Wilderness
- Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness
- Delirium Wilderness
- Round Island Wilderness
The SWP has implemented a variety of wilderness enhancement projects including improved public access, native plant restoration, invasive plant removal, erosion control, and air quality monitoring. The SWP has also assisted with a multi-year native plant restoration project on Grand Island; a US Forest Service National Recreation Area. Thanks to the dedicated greenhouse staff for growing tens of thousands of thriving native plants that were eventually transplanted on Grand Island! Henry David Thoreau wrote; “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” If you would like to help support wilderness preservation please contact the SWP.
LAKE SUPERIOR SHORELINE RESTORATION
Thanks to a grant from the Michigan Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the SWP in cooperation with the City of Marquette have initiated the first phase of restoring over half a mile of Lake Superior shoreline. The 3,000 foot section of shoreline targeted for restoration is adjacent to Lakeshore Boulevard and is currently heavily armored with a tall ridge of rock rip-rap that obscures the view of Lake Superior. The city will host several public meetings in 2012 to invite citizen input regarding shoreline restoration design, public access, viewing platforms, road redesign and more. 2013 will include opportunities for volunteers to assist with two small dune restoration demonstration projects. For more information please visit the City of Marquette website: www.mqtcty.org or contact the SWP.
LAKE SUPERIOR DUNE RESTORATION
Did you know that less than 10% of the Lake Superior shoreline is made up of sand beach and dunes? Many unique species of plants and animals live in this somewhat rare dune and swale ecosystem. Sadly, many of our most popular Lake Superior dune systems are being impacted from overuse or misuse. Each summer the SWP completes a series of dune restoration projects. Recent projects include McCarty’s Cove in Marquette and the MDOT turn-outs along highway M-28 in Chocolay Township (funded by a FEMA grant). Dune restoration includes beach grass transplanting, native shrub and tree planting, invasive plant removal, fence building, installing signs and more. If you or your community group would like to volunteer to help on a dune restoration project please contact the SWP.
GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS RESTORATION
Great Lakes coastal wetlands are rare. The EPA estimates that over 50% of these unique ecosystems have been lost to development. The SWP staff is proud to be working with the City of Marquette in restoring the coastal wetland at Presque Isle Park. The approach to Presque Isle(French for “almost an island”) was once predominately coastal wetlands. Sadly, over the last century most of these wetlands have been filled in with countless tons of soil, concrete rubble and other debris. SWP staff developed the wetland restoration plan that is being used to guide the restoration process at Presque Isle. The good news is that the project will have numerous environmental benefits including improved coastal habitat for a wide variety of migratory birds. The SWP will also be assisting with the ongoing monitoring at the site.
Look for additional coastal wetland restoration work in the future! If you would like to volunteer to help with related wetland mon- itoring please contact the city or SWP.
SALMON TROUT RIVER RESTORATION, MARQUETTE COUNTY
In 2012 the SWP completed five more large scale habitat restoration projects in the Salmon Trout River Watershed. Over the last decade the SWP has completed more than 20 watershed protection and habitat restoration projects throughout this unique watershed. With funding provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and other agencies the SWP has been able to significantly reduce sedimentation and improve important aquatic habitat for the threatened Coaster Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and other species. In fact, the SWP Salmon Trout project was featured in the State of the Great Lakes Report for contributing to a 70% increase in the Coaster population. The Salmon Trout is one of the last rivers on the south shore of Lake Superior with a naturally reproducing population of native Coaster Brook Trout.
SWP plans for the Salmon Trout include; additional habitat restoration projects, expanded stream monitoring and continued public education. The SWP has also been instrumental in improving public access to this unique river system. The restored watershed and improved fishery sets the bar higher for everyone truly interested in protecting the long term health of the Salmon Trout River and Lake Superior.
MARQUETTE WATER QUALITY MONITORING
- 1) LAKE SUPERIOR BEACH MONITORING
- 2) RAIN BARREL COST-SHARE PROGRAM
- 3) RED BUCKET PROGRAM
- 4) CIGARETTE BUTT PROGRAM
1) Lake Superior Beach Monitoring
Thanks to a $77,000 grant through the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative the City of Marquette and the Superior Watershed Partnership have expanded the Public Beach Monitoring Program. The program will increase the frequency and duration of beach monitoring and sanitary surveys to identify potential bacterial contamination. This project will reduce human health risks by improving monitoring, investigating any sources of bacterial contamination, and working to eliminate any sources identified. Please visit these web sites for additional information: City of Marquette and Great Lakes Beach Association.
The SWP in partnership with the City of Marquette are monitoring Marquette's beaches to protect public health and improve water quality. This annual project also includes GIS mapping of the city storm drains leading to Lake Superior, conducting beach sanitary surveys at public beaches, rain event sampling, and public education campaigns to inform and involve citizens. During the 2011 swimming season there will be new ways for Marquette residents to become involved. Check back soon for more information.
For more information visit the state beach monitoring website here.
The SWP has partnered with North Jackson Company to bring you the REACH System of data analysis for watersheds. Read more about it here.
2) RAIN BARREL COST-SHARE PROGRAMStarting in July 2011, the City of Marquette in cooperation with the Superior Watershed Partnership will coordinate a new rain barrel cost-share program for city residents. Rain barrels are an easy way to limit the amount of stormwater leaving your property. They also save water and can significantly reduce your summer water bill. Plus, rain barrels are easy to install on most rain gutter down spouts.
Marquette residents will enter a special code and receive a bulk discount price and have the barrel shipped directly to their home address (shipping is extra).Through a special bulk arrangement Marquette residents will be able to purchase a 50 gallon rain barrel for $100 (normally $165). Once the rain barrel has been installed residents can provide a photo (or request a site visit to verify installation) and receive an additional $50 towards the purchase price (total cost $50 after rebate). Barrels must be installed before cost share funds are released. Plus, participants in this special program will also receive a one-year membership to the Superior Watershed Partnership!
Funding is limited so cost-sharing is available on a first come first served basis (approximately 120 rain barrels). After the cost-share funds have been exhausted city residents can still purchase a rain barrel at the bulk discount price ($100 vs. $165). Funding was provided through the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Note: The program officially begins July 5th. One rebate per household.
If you do not have access to a computer simply contact the SWP for more information on how to participate (906-228-6095).
3) RED BUCKET PROGRAMSometimes it’s the most simple, low-cost Shoreviewer projects that get the most attention. The SWP in cooperation with the Marquette County Community Foundation used simple red buckets to raise awareness about runoff pollution, storm drains and reducing cigarette litter on our beaches.
Recent smoking ordinances have had the unintended consequence of increasing cigarette litter on our sidewalks and streets. When it rains (or snow melts) thousands of cigarette butts are washed down our storm drains into Lake Superior and wash up on our beaches. To address the problem the SWP provided businesses with free red buckets filled with beach sand to encourage proper disposal of cigarette butts. Not only did the program dramatically reduce cigarette litter it also raised community awareness about storm water runoff. The red bucket program has since been replicated by other communities an was featured at the EPA Great Lakes beach conference. The SWP also continues to sponsor annual citizen beach clean-up events. If your business or community organization would like more information about these beach programs please contact the SWP.
4) CIGARETTE BUTT PROGRAMThe Superior Watershed Partnership, the Marquette City Police Department, and the Marquette County Health Department are working together to educate the public about the link between storm drains and beach litter.
Did you know that when you flick your butt out of your car window it will more than likely end up on one of Marquette's beautiful beaches? Here's what happens. Underneath the ground throughout the entire city are a system of storm sewer pipes. They receive rain water and other debris from the storm drains along the curbs. Anytime it rains whatever is on the surface of the pavement flows into the drains. There are a series of outfalls into Lake Superior where the storm drain deposits all the rain and debris. Cigarette butts travel through these pipes and into Lake Superior through these outfalls.
Why should you care? First of all flicking butts out your car window is illegal. Second these butts enter Lake Superior from the outfalls and then wash back onto the shore littering our beaches. Finally, these butts enter the Lake and float to the surface of the water. Fish often mistake butts for food. Since the filters aren't digestible, they get stuck in the fishes system causing potential physiological damage.
In short...don't flick it.
NATIVE PLANTSLocated about one half mile from the mainland of Munising, Michigan, Grand Island was home to the first settlers starting in the 1800s. As primarily fur traders, these early inhabitants established a farm field on the southern part of the island to grow crops.
Up until recently, this field had been completely overgrown with alien, invasive species such as spotted knapweed, hawkweed and ox eye daisy. Through a partnership between the SWP and the HNF, this field is being restored to grow native plants and grasses.
Over 35,000 native plant seeds have been harvested, cleaned, and are currently being planted on Grand Island. Volunteers and over 17 people have been hired by the SWP to assist in this effort. Plants such as milkweed, coreopsis, and black eyed susan have been planted and are being used by numerous birds and insects for food and shelter.
Interested in volunteering for this project? Call Natasha at 906-228-6095.
Each year, towards the end of summer, tens of thousands of monarch butterflies congregate at the southern tip of the Stonington Peninsula. Here they rest up to cross Lake Michigan on their annual migration to Mexico. The SWP is coordinating a project to protect and restore monarch habitat at this important migration staging area. Specific projects include re-introducing native plant species such as milkweed (a preferred food for Monarchs) and removing invasive plant species (such as thistle and knapweed). The SWP received funding through the National Forest Foundation and is working closely with the US Forest Service and the Central Upper Peninsula Cooperative Weed Management Area (CUPCWMA) to implement this project. In addition to Monarch butterflies this project benefits a wide variety of other pollinators. Did you know that bees, butterflies and other insects are critical pollinators for nearly 75% of our food crops? Sadly, there has been a devastating decline in many pollinator species. This cooperative SWP project is designed to be part of the solution to this critical global problem. If you would like to get involved please contact the SWP.
The Superior Watershed Partnership has completed 6 watershed management plans.
- Whetstone Brook and Orianna Creek WMP
- Lower Dead River Watershed Management Plan - available upon request
- Chocolay River WMP
- Salmon Trout River WMP.
- Munising Bay WMP
- Two Hearted River WMP
THE BIG TWO HEARTED RIVER WATERSHED
The first step in restoring a watershed is developing a prioritized management plan that is then approved by EPA and the State of Michigan. Thanks to 319 funding through the Clean Water Act the SWP developed a comprehensive plan for the Two Hearted River Watershed. Over the last several years the SWP in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy(TNC) and other local partners has been working to implement the plan by installing a number of large scale restoration projects that control erosion, improve habitat and provide better public access. TNC and SWP restoration projects have been funded primarily through the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). To date, four field projects have been installed and more are scheduled. We think Ernest Hemingway, author of “The Big Two Hearted River”, would be pleased. For more information about the projects or to learn about Two Hearted volunteer opportunities please contact the SWP.
Two Hearted Appendices
- Appendix A - Stream Monitoring Data
- Appendix B - Road/Stream Crossing Inventory Data
- Appendic C - Erosion Inventory Maps - available upon request
- Two Hearted River Riparian Analysis
- Two Hearted Watershed Hydrologic Study
IMPROVING A GREAT LAKES AREA OF CONCERN (AOC):
Thanks to a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the SWP is currently working on a comprehensive assessment of the Carp River Watershed to identify sources of run-off pollution and contamination with an emphasis on mercury sources. The Carp River is listed as a Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC) due to historic mining and laboratory activities. The good news is that the primary sources of contamination are being addressed through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and natural attenuation. The SWP project will also address secondary sources of contamination and will include the cities of Ishpeming, Negaunee and Marquette. Once completed the Carp River AOC assessment will be used to secure grant funding to implement prioritized community pollution prevention projects.
The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) in cooperation with the Hiawatha National Forest (HNF) have completed inventories of Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM) and other aquatic vegetation in two lakes (total 217 acres) in and around the Big Island Lake Wilderness Area with funding from the National Forest Foundation. Eurasian Watermilfoil is an exotic aquatic weed which has the capability to efficiently reproduce from fragments and spread rapidly. It can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions and can be moved by boats, birds, and currents to new locations. In areas where it is established it forms extensive mats at the surface further causing negative effects by shading out native vegetation, creating a problem for boating, and negatively affecting fish habitat. Once this exotic is established in a lake it is very difficult to eradicate.
This important work by SWP and HNF will allow for a quick response to documented EWM infestations and prevent further spread to inland lakes within Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron watersheds of the Upper Peninsula. The SWP and HNF have installed informational signage at heavily used public access lakes to inform recreational users of ways they can help prevent the spread of EWM. Measures boaters can take include, 1) avoid boating through dense mats of EWM, 2) remove all plant fragments from boat, trailer, hitch motor, and propeller and leave on shore above high water line, and 3) drain all water from the boat, live-bait well, and bilge before leaving the lake. For more information regarding EWM on the Hiawatha National Forest call (906) 474-6442 or (906) 387-2512.
The SWP and HNF are continuing this project this summer by using biological control to attempt to eliminate EWM from Steuben Lake in the HNF.
Click here to view the EWM prevention sign to be placed in the HNF.
Do you know about a lake that is infested with Eurasian Watermilfoil? Let us know!
This is what it looks like. How does it differ from native milfoil? For the northern milfoil, the threadlike segments are very widely separated and there are few pairs per leaflet. The Eurasian watermilfoil leaflet has many pairs of closely-spaced segments. Note also that the shape of each leaflet is different. Unfortunately not all northern and Eurasian milfoil leaflets look so differently from each other. Sometimes these two species look very similar and when that happens it is best to rely on DNA or pigment analysis for positive identification. Funding for this project was provided by the National Forest Foundation.
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)
VHS is viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a viral fish disease that has caused large scale mortalities in rainbow trout and turbot aquaculture operations in Europe and in wild Pacific herring and pilchard populations along the Pacific Coast of North America. The disease is caused by a rhabdovirus, Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSv). Rhadoviruses are a group of viruses that include 8 other fish disease causing agents including the highly virulent Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) that is found in the Pacific Coast salmon populations.
VHSv has a number of identified isolates (unique genetic types) grouped in four types; three from Europe and one from North America. Each appears to have unique effects with specific pathogenicity (virulence) on certain species. The isolate recently found in the Great Lakes Basin is nearly identical genetically to the VHS strain previously isolated from the Maritime Region of Canada and has been labeled Type (isolate) IVb.
VHSv is not a human pathogen as it can not replicate in warm-blooded animals. There are no concerns with respect to human health with this pathogen and it can not infect humans if they eat fish with the pathogen.
Voluntary Disinfection stations are being established at Michigan boat launches to help stop the spread of the VHS fish virus.
Want more information visit Michigan Lakes and Streams Associations website or go directly
to the Watercraft Disinfection Station Instructions.
Also please visit the invasive species page on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment website.
The SWP shares a research vessel with Northern Michigan University. The ERDA is used for a variety of projects on Lake Superior, including invasive species monitoring and water quality research.
COASTER BROOK TROUT
In the summer of 2009, the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) celebrated a decade of implementing on-the-ground habitat restoration projects in the Salmon Trout River watershed and released state monitoring data has documented a dramatic increase in the threatened Coaster Brook Trout population.
The Salmon Trout River is located in the Huron Mountains of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and has become well known in recent years due to a proposed nickel mine near its headwaters. But the Salmon Trout is also known for being the last river on the south shore of Lake Superior with a naturally-reproducing population of Coaster Brook Trout.
The SWP has completed over twenty large-scale, watershed improvement projects in the Salmon Trout. These projects prevent hundreds of tons of sediment from entering the river annually and smothering important fish habitat. All totaled over the last ten years the SWP, with local, state, federal and tribal support, has implemented nearly $1 million in protection and restoration projects just in the Salmon Trout watershed alone. The SWP works in Upper Peninsula watersheds draining to Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior.
After a long period of decline, monitoring by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Michigan Technological University (MTU) has documented a steady increase in the number of large Coaster Brook Trout in the Salmon Trout River. While Coaster Brook Trout populations in the Salmon Trout River remain relatively small, monitoring data indicates a 70% increase in the number of adult fish since 2002.
The SWP continues to implement projects that have been prioritized in the Salmon Trout Watershed Management Plan. The plan was developed by the SWP and approved by the EPA and Michigan DEQ. SWP Watershed Planner, Geraldine Larson, credits the plan for providing an effective, science-based approach to Great Lakes habitat restoration; “The plan provides a snapshot of existing and potential impacts to the watershed and helps us prioritize projects and get the best ecological benefit with the funding we receive.”
The SWP and coaster brook trout success was featured in the 2010 State Of the Lakes Ecosystem Report (page 34).
Watershed restoration projects that have been installed by the SWP include;
- erosion control
- clear-span bridges
- bottomless arch culverts
- sediment traps
- storm water controls
- native plant restoration
- stream bank stabilization.
The New Improved Great Lakes Shoreviewer!
The Superior Watershed Partnership is pleased to provide FREE high resolution color photography for every inch of Great Lakes coastline in the Upper Peninsula including Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Great Lakes ShoreViewer
The SWP will conduct monitoring at Eagle Mine, Humboldt Mill and along approved truck routes.