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Lake Superior shore and coastal wetlands protected

June 26, 2013                                                                                                             13-0626

For More Information:
Ronda Wuycheck, 517-284-5040, wuycheckr@michigan.gov
Brian Sweeney, 517-284-5047, sweeneyb2@michigan.gov

DEQ Coastal Zone Management Program supports land acquisition by Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District

The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes announced today the permanent protection of 181 acres of pristine coastal land, including 1.7 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. A multi-year effort by the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District and Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program culminated in last Friday's successful land acquisition project, investing nearly a million dollars of grant funds.

Funding came from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. This project would not have been possible without the generous support provided by the J.A. Woollam Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

This parcel adds to the 1,493 acres of high-quality wetlands, sand dune and 0.67 miles of Lac La Belle shoreline (a freshwater estuary of Lake Superior) previously acquired in
December 2012, under phase one of this grant project. Together, these acquisitions provide significant advances toward the locally-driven initiative to protect the larger 8,000+ acre coastal wetland complex known as the Bete Grise Wetlands.

These wetlands contain a broad variety of habitats, hosting remarkable numbers and diversity of plant and animal species. The area is known to contain a rare type of wetland called a patterned fen. Wildlife species calling this area home include bald and golden eagles, sandhill cranes, moose, wolves and black bears.

"This project protects a rich mosaic of coastal wetland habitats, Lake Superior shoreline, and 3,500 feet of formerly private Lac La Belle sloughs for thousands of native and migratory, aquatic, and terrestrial species. It also provides current and future generations with permanent access to beaches, fishing, kayaking and canoe waters, roadside parks, berry picking spots, picnic areas, and one of the most beautiful scenic drives anywhere," said Gina Nicholas, Chairperson, Board of Directors for the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District.     
             
The Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program provides grant funds to assist in the development of vibrant and resilient coastal communities through the protection and restoration of our sensitive coastal resources and biologically diverse ecosystems.

For additional information about the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program, please visit our website at www.mi.gov/coastalmanagement.