Grant History

Since 2011, the Fund for Lake Michigan has awarded 216 grants totaling over $15 million to non-profit organizations and local government agencies to improve the health of Lake Michigan and its communities. The projects focus on habitat restoration and reducing runoff and pollutants in the watersheds of Southeastern Wisconsin. Click on a year below to read a brief summary of each project.

2016 Fall Grants

Lake Michigan Coastline and Basin Wide Projects (north to south) ($449,462)

  • University of Wisconsin-Green Bay - $58,850 to Construct a Coastal Wetland along the Green Bay shoreline. UWGB students and staff will design and install a shallow coastal wetland to naturally filter sediments and pollutants from a significant source of runoff from the campus. The additional 1.5 acres of coastal wetland will reduce the impact of runoff into Green Bay and provide additional habitat for wetland species.

  • Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin - $100,000 to Reduce Water Pollution at Point Beach State Forest in Manitowoc County.  New rain gardens and bio swales at Point Beach State Forest will reduce storm water runoff from the nature center and surrounding area. The result will be a cleaner, safer beach at this coastal state forest that attracts 400,000 visitors annually but has experienced frequent beach advisories and closures in recent years.
  • City of Two Rivers - $74,500 to develop a preliminary design for Water Quality and Green Stormwater Infrastucture at a former factory site on the East Twin River between downtown and the harbor. The city will develop plans for stormwater management, public access, and riverfront green space for the 12-acre site. 
  • Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Inc. - $30,000 for LNRP's Stewardship Fund.  With support from the Fund, LNRP will offer mini-grants to local organizations for on-the-ground restoration and water quality projects.
  • Milwaukee County Parks Department - $89,795 to Install an Innovative Disinfection System to Improve Water Quality at Bradford and South Shore Beaches.  Milwaukee County will partner with Solar Water Works and the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences to install and monitor an emerging solar powered technology (PECO-photoelectrocatalytic oxidation) to disinfect stormwater before it enters Lake Michigan.  If successful, this technology could be a cost-effective treatment system for beaches everywhere.
  • Harbor District, Inc. (HDI) - $47,000 for Harbor District Waterway Improvements.  This grant will support HDI’s ongoing efforts to revitalize and sustainably redevelop Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor by promoting habitat improvements, new recreational opportunities, green stormwater infrastructure, and an innovative “Trash Wheel” to remove garbage from the Kinnickinnic River before it enters the harbor.
  • City of Racine Health Department - $48,167 for Habitat and Access Improvements at North Beach.  The city will protect a large dune system on this nationally-recognized beach.  North Beach has increased in popularity five-fold since the city began restoring the beach and investing in innovative water quality improvements in 2000.

Fox River Watershed ($70,000)

  • Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District (GBMSD) – $70,000 for Agricultural Phosphorus and Sediment Reduction through Cover Crop Planting with New Technology. The Sewerage District will purchase an “interseeder” – a piece of farm equipment that allows farmers to plant more cover crops, which will significantly reduce spring runoff from bare fields. Spring runoff is the largest contributor of phosphorus and other nutrients to local waterways.

Milwaukee River Watershed (upstream to downstream) ($405,000)

  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) - $250,000 to support Removal of the Estabrook Dam on the Milwaukee River. Our pledge is the first toward the long-awaited removal of the dam, which will reduce flood risks, increase recreational opportunities, enhance water quality and vastly improve habitat for Great Lakes fish. Our funds will not be released until demolition has begun.
  • Northwest Side Community Development Corporation (NWSCDC) - $25,000 for Innovation Park at Century City, will enable NWSCDC continue its work with partners to develop a green infrastructure plan and site design for a strategically located vacant parcel within the 30th Street Corridor.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee Inc. - $20,000 for a Green Infrastructure Planning Project at the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club in Sherman Park.  The Boys & Girls Clubs will work with Milwaukee County, neighborhood residents and other stakeholders to develop a green infrastructure plan for Sherman Park.  Frequent flooding makes much of the park unsafe and unusable. A safe and welcoming park, along with programming provided by the Boys & Girls Clubs, is critical to this neighborhood.
  • Urban Ecology Center, Inc. (UEC) - $30,000 for the Ephemeral Pond Project will help UEC convert a 0.4 acre parcel within Riverside Park and the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum into an ephemeral pond that will capture and treat runoff before it flows into the Milwaukee River and will create urban habitat for frogs and salamanders.
  • Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) - $80,000 for Green Demonstration Project at the Milwaukee Public Museum will fund a high-profile green demonstration project with educational signage at the entrance of the MPM, one of the most visited institutions in the state.  The project features an innovative storm water collection system that includes meandering porous pathways, native plantings, and vegetable gardens.  The system can capture over 32,000 gallons of storm water on a rainy day.

Multiple Milwaukee Area Watersheds ($214,000)

  • Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc. - $112,000 for Post-TMDL Planning for Watershed Restoration. Sweet Water will develop detailed subwatershed plans in the Milwaukee River Watershed to facilitate implementation of recently released TMDLs. Sweet Water will also pilot an evaluation and reporting mechanism in the Kinnickinnic and Menomonee Watersheds to track progress toward each river’s Watershed Restoration Plan.
  • Milwaukee Riverkeeper - $52,000 to Monitoring Water Quality for the Milwaukee River Basin TMDL. Milwaukee Riverkeeper will expand its volunteer water quality monitoring program to help track progress toward the recently-released TMDLs.
  • Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps - $25,000 for Engaging Urban Youth to Reduce Nonpoint Source Pollution Using Permeable Pavement Systems will help fund a project to train and credential 200 young adults from low income communities in porous pavement installation. Participants will help install an estimated 17,500 square feet of permeable pavers throughout the Milwaukee area, gaining invaluable job skills will directly improving water quality in the region.
  • Reflo - $25,000 for Green Schools Consortium of Milwaukee will enable Reflo, a new 501(c)3 that provides free and low-cost professional design/build services for community-supported green infrastructure and water reuse projects, to work with two schools to create conceptual designs for green infrastructure.

Menomonee River Watershed ($25,000)

  • Menomonee Valley Partners (MVP) - $25,000 for Brownfield Predevelopment for priority sites along the lower Menomonee River. MVP will begin a predevelopment process that will ultimately transform 40 acres along the Menomonee River on the eastern edge of the Valley.  As part of this grant, MVP will work with partners to develop a conceptual site plan to maximize public access to the river, stormwater treatment, and economic development.

Root River Watershed ($84,970)

  • Hunger Task Force, Inc. - $22,235 for Phase Two of the Root River Floodplain Restoration Project.  Hunger Task Force, along with hundreds of volunteers, will continue its successful restoration of 75 acres of natural area along the Root River.   Along with human volunteers, Hunger Task Force will use goats to manage invasive species on the site.   
  • Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network - $62,735 for the Root River – Colonial Park – Ravine Restoration Design will help advance three restoration efforts in the popular Colonial Park near downtown Racine including the replacement of ash trees with native trees and shrubs to prevent erosion, the restoration of a wetland in the historic floodplain and of a ravine that is causing significant sedimentation in the Root River.

Pike River Watershed ($70,000)

  • Village of Mount Pleasant - $70,000 for the Pike River - Smolenski Park - Park Trails and Prairie Restoration will build on the model success of the eleven-phase, $5 million Pike River restoration project by reducing stormwater runoff from a 15-acre fallow field into the Bartlett Branch of the Pike River. The village will develop trails on the site and connect the property to Smolenski Park.

 

2016 Spring Grants

Lake Michigan Shoreline and Basinwide (north to south) ($965,850)

  • City of Green Bay - Parks Department - $75,000 to complete all of the water quality studies and engineering plans necessary to reestablish a swimming beach at Bay Beach Amusement Park.  The once popular beach has been closed for decades due to pollution from the Fox River. In addition to improving water quality, this project will highlight the success of efforts to improve Green Bay.
  • City of Kewaunee - $55,350 to build green infrastructure and improve water quality at Harbor Park. The project is part of the larger renovation of Kewaunee Harbor that is occurring under a $4.2 million Harbor Assistance Program (HAP) grant. The city expects that the six-acre public park will be the centerpiece of Kewaunee’s redeveloped waterfront.
  • City of Manitowoc - $125,000 to prevent polluted runoff from reaching the Blue Rail Marina Beach, one of the most polluted swimming beaches on Lake Michigan. This beach has had 79 water quality alerts over the past five years. In partnership with the EPA, which has provided $167,000 for this project, this grant will help make this beach swimmable again.
  • City of Sheboygan - $25,500 to advance the city’s collaboration with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Sheboygan Area School District, and several local non-profit organizations to establish the Sheboygan Adopt-a-Beach and Adopt-a-Habitat Program. The program will support beach restoration projects underway at Deland and King Parks.

  • Sheboygan County Planning & Conservation - $75,000 to remove agricultural drain tiles and restore the natural hydrology at Amsterdam Dunes, a newly acquired 328-acre natural area on the shores of Lake Michigan.   

  • Village of Fox Point - $100,000 to use a promising new best management practice called Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance (RSC) to stabilize two highly eroded ravines within the village and reduce sediment loading to Lake Michigan.

  • War Memorial Center - $75,000 to develop a Comprehensive Master Plan for habitat and stormwater improvements along a key stretch of county-owned land on Milwaukee's Lakeshore. The project is a collaborative effort between the War Memorial Center, Milwaukee County Parks, Milwaukee Rotary and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

  • Harbor District - $40,000 for Take me to the River – Connecting Milwaukee's South Side to the Harbor District. Under this initiative, which has received an additional $125,000 in partner funding, residents and community organizations on the south side of Milwaukee will identify, design, and build a new public access point to the Inner Harbor, an important community resource.

  • Kenosha Stormwater Utility - $175,000 to fund phases III and IV of the Eichelman Park Beach Restoration Plan.  Grant funds will be used to build a large rain garden to capture runoff from the parking lot, dune features to further control surface runoff and gull loafing, and defined public access routes to maintain green infrastructure improvements.

  • The Nature Conservancy - $150,000  to Restore Lake Michigan Tributaries. Removing barriers in priority rives will support migratory fish and other aquatic species in the face of climate change and other threats. A new tool called Fishwerks will prioritize the most ecologically important rivers.  This effort will then replace at least two high-priority barriers and create a list of shovel-ready barrier removal projects.

  • Gathering Waters Conservancy - $20,000 to enhance the capacity of land trusts to protect & restore habitat and improve water quality within the Lake Michigan Basin. Land trusts are some of the most well-established conservation groups working at the local level in Wisconsin, but few have actively taken on water quality improvement projects.

 

Fox River Watershed ($75,00)

  • Alliance for the Great Lakes - $75,000 to work with the City of Appleton in reducing nutrients reaching the Fox River. This project will identify nutrient hot spots and model what different phosphorus reduction options would cost Appleton. This information is also critical for other point sources in the Appleton area that face phosphorus reduction requirements.

 

Sheboygan River Watershed ($123,660)

  • Ducks Unlimited Inc. - $65,000 for dam reengineering plans at the 14,000-acre Sheboygan Marsh, the largest restored wetland in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan basin. DU will develop three design plans that could provide varying levels of ecological and public safety benefits. 

  • Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership - $58,660 to remove a barrier to fish passage and provide coldwater spawning habitat on Willow Creek in the City of Sheboygan. Willow Creek one of the only streams in Wisconsin to have naturally reproducing Coho, Chinook and Steelhead. Removing a barrier at Greendale Road in and restoring a small amount of flood plain will give the fish access to around two miles of additional habitat.

Milwaukee River Watershed ($445,000)

  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District - $200,000 to support the Milwaukee River Watershed Conservation Partnership (MRWCP).  The grant will fund a private agronomist and support farmer-led programs that promote conservation farming practices. This complements a $1.5 million NRCS grant and is part of $3.6 million that partners pledged to support the MRWCP.

  • Mequon Nature Preserve, Inc. - $20,000 for Agricultural Conversion/Planning of Parcels on County Line Road, Milwaukee/Mequon will return 100 acres of the 438-acre Mequon Nature Preserve to mesic prairie, develop four sediment catchment basins within the project area, and create two acres of grass waterways.

  • Wisconsin Wetlands Association - $25,000 to offer technical assistance to help private landowners restore and implement wetland protection strategies as a part of the Mequon Preservation Partners Initiative. Improving water quality through private wetlands is a new approach, and WWA will track quantitative results of this project to inform future private wetland protection strategies.

  • Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation & Culture - $200,000 to construct Fish Passage at the Kletzsch Park Dam. The proposed rock ramp will open 25 miles of Milwaukee River main stem and 29 miles of tributary streams to fish and will provide access to 2,400 acres of wetland spawning habitat upstream of the dam.

Menomonee River Watershed (upstream to downstream) ($166,375)

  • Waukesha County Land Conservancy, Inc. - $21,375 for the Menomonee River Watershed Protection & Restoration Project.  WCLC will design a land protection plan to advance the goals of the Menomonee River Watershed Restoration Plan. They will also create a site-specific wetland restoration plan to manage and restore 160 acres of wetlands, ephemeral ponds, and associated uplands.

  • Milwaukee Riverkeeper - $80,000 for Restoring and Remeandering the Menomonee River in Rotary Park. As part of their first-of-a-kind Watershed-Based Stormwater Permit, the villages of Menomonee Falls, Elm Grove, Brookfield, and West Milwaukee have each committed $100,000 to restore 500 feet of highly eroded streambank. This grant will significantly expand the scale of this project.

  • Friends of the Monarch Trail - $65,000 to restore 14-acres of Monarch Butterfly Habitat at the westernmost edge of the Milwaukee County Grounds near the Menomonee River. The site is a key migratory corridor for monarch butterflies and includes degraded wetlands, streams and drainage swales.

Multiple Milwaukee Area Watersheds ($399,600)

  • Groundwork Milwaukee - $25,000 for Groundwork Milwaukee's Urban Waters Awareness Project.  Groundwork will install green infrastructure and water harvesting structures at 10 of the 92 community gardens the organization manages on behalf of the City of Milwaukee. The project includes job training for neighborhood youth.

  • Milwaukee Environmental Consortium - $30,000 will fund Growing Water Stewardship in Milwaukee Neighborhoods by allowing community leaders from five to six neighborhoods who participate in the Milwaukee Water Commons’ “Water School” to launch water stewardship projects in their respective neighborhoods, extending the reach of the Water School’s education with tangible, on-the-ground efforts.

  • Sweet Water - $178,500 for Advancing and Implementing Municipal Water Quality Protection. This project builds on a review of the municipal codes of all 28 communities within MMSD’s service area, which resulted in recommendations for how to support green infrastructure on the local level. This project will help local governmental bodies implement these recommendations and update their laws and review processes to get green infrastructure in place.

  • UWM Foundation - $59,600 will help scientists at the School of Freshwater Sciences and other partners launch the Citizens for the Lake and Rivers Monitoring Program, in which citizens collect cutting-edge data while inspiring behavior change by showing residents how choice of personal care products, foods, pharmaceuticals, and household items affects water quality.

  • UWM Foundation - $90,000 for Applying the Science of Source Specific Indicators to Improve Milwaukee Area Water Quality ensuring that scientific advances and innovative tools developed as part of a $1,500,000 NIH grant to the School of Freshwater Sciences are applied locally to advance projects important to the Fund, such as the South Shore Beach restoration.

Root River Watershed ($96,075)

  • Racine County Land Conservation Division - $90,000 for the Racine County Land Conservation Department to install 25 acres of Riparian Buffers, including innovative harvestable buffers, on farmland along the Root River and its tributaries. The buffers will be installed in areas deemed high priority in the Root River Watershed Restoration Plan.

  • River Bend Nature Center - $6,075 for the WATERshed Project. This program, a cornerstone to the Nature Center’s mission since 2009, educates 3,000 students on stormwater discharge, wetlands and buffer zones, water quality testing, and the importance of safeguarding water resources, with a particular focus on the Root River and Lake Michigan.

Pike River Watershed ($53,900)

  • Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network - $33,900 to restore ravines and oak savanna along the School Tributary of the Pike River.  Under the grant, Root Pike WIN will create design plans to restore a ravine immediately north of Hawthorn Hollow on the School Creek tributary.

  • Kenosha Storm Water Utility - $20,000 for Lincoln Lagoon Planting Design will enhance the restoration of this degraded 5-acre pond in popular Lincoln Park. This plan will reduce the nutrients reaching the pond and maximize the ecological benefits.

Yahara River Watershed ($45,000)

  • US Geological Survey - $45,000 to develop a framework to advance statewide phosphorus reduction credits for leaf collection. This project will support ongoing research on the importance of leaf collection in limiting runoff pollution in urban areas.  This study, building on significant findings from a previous study, evaluates the effectiveness of various leaf collection methods in reducing the phosphorus in storm runoff.  This study has implications throughout the Lake Michigan watershed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Grants

Lake Michigan Shoreline

City of Algoma  ($75,000)

The city will use this grant to improve water quality and reduce the number of beach closures at Crescent Beach.  This two-mile long beach in Kewaunee County is a popular destination for both residents and visitors and is important to the local economy.   Water quality at Crescent Beach, however, is currently poor and the beach is on the state’s impaired list due to high levels of bacteria and outbreaks of cladophora. 

City of Cudahy Water Utility ($25,000)

With this grant from the Fund, the Cudahy Water Utility will pilot a Water Loss Audit Training Program to detect leaks and weaknesses within municipal water systems.

City of Oak Creek ($75,000)

The City will use this grant from the Fund to help restore natural areas, create parkland and implement green infrastructure to reduce runoff to Lake Michigan at Lake Vista, a 250-acre former brownfield adjacent to Milwaukee's Bender Park on the shores of Lake Michigan. Read more about the Lake Vista redevelopment project here.

City of Port Washington ($75,000)

Port Washington will restore a small coastal wetland along the city's Harbor Walk and connect the walkway to the scenic breakwater and historic lighthouse. The restored wetland will mitigate stormwater runoff from the parking areas and public streets that serve this popular waterfront destination. Read about the breakwater restoration project here.

City of Racine ($75,000)

This grant builds on a previous award from the Fund and will be used to continue restoration work at Sam Myers beach in downtown Racine. This phase of the project involves restoring five acres of dunes and coastal wetlands just blocks from downtown Racine, which will improve both wildlife habitat and recreational swimming at the beach.

Discovery World ($200,000)

With this grant, the Fund will support development of interactive exhibits, state-of-the-art equipment and programming at Discovery World's new Fund for Lake Michigan Freshwater Sustainability Lab, opened earlier in 2015 to bring freshwater learning experiences to visitors of all ages.

Ducks Unlimited ($75,000)

DU will use this grant from the Fund to improve wetlands at the 570-acre Sensiba Wetland Complex along the western shores of Green Bay. By excavating and replacing an existing coastal levee, this project will safeguard and enhance the more than $1 million in recent investments in conservation that have already been implemented at the wetland.

Friends of Kohler Andrae State Park ($90,000)

The Friends will use this grant from the Fund to improve water quality at Kohler Andrae State Park's popular swimming beach by constructing rain gardens to capture and treat polluted runoff before it reaches the lake. The project is expected to dramatically reduce beach closures and halt the erosion of the nearby dunes.

Friends of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center ($60,000)

This grant will enable Schlitz Audubon Nature Center to develop a plan to manage stormwater, stabilize ravines, and improve habitat at its 185-acre site on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Harbor District, Inc. ($40,000)

Harbor District, Inc. will lead and coordinate efforts to sustainably redevelop and revitalize Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor.   Along with acting as the Project Manager for the City of Milwaukee on a Water and Land Use plan for the area, HDI will advance efforts to clean up contaminated sediments in and around the harbor and will work with individual property owners to improve habitat and reduce polluted runoff into the lake.

Lakeshore Natural Resources Partnership ($30,000)

LNRP will increase the scope and scale of LNRP’s small grants program. Grants are awarded to conservation organizations in eastern Wisconsin to build capacity and to implement on-the-ground restoration and water quality projects. 

Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture ($60,000)

Milwaukee County will use this grant from the Fund to restore ravines and reduce runoff at the North Point Lighthouse, a national historic site in the heart of Lake Park. The project will implement an innovative new green infrastructure practice that is expected to improve water quality significantly at nearby Bradford Beach.

Natural Resources Foundation ($60,000)

NRF will evaluate how coastal development affects shoreline erosion and how those impacts can be mitigated. Ultimately this study will inform restoration efforts at Kenosha Dunes State Natural Area and Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area.

Ozaukee County ($38,500)

This grant will identify sources of E. coli that are compromising water quality at Harrington Beach State Park.   Over 125,000 individuals visit Harrington Beach State Park each year, making it one of the most popular beaches along Lake Michigan.  Yet exceptionally high levels of bacteria and the presence of E.coli have led to routine beach closings and unhealthy swimming conditions at the park. 

Racine County ($35,000)

This grant will evaluate the condition of existing infrastructure within the Racine Harbor and to identify opportunities for restoration and water quality improvements such as treating storm water runoff, improving riparian habitat, stabilizing banks and reducing weed and algae growth in the harbor.

Ridges Sanctuary ($75,000)

This grant will enable the Ridges Sanctuary to build rain gardens, manage stormwater and enhance educational programming surrounding their newly constructed Living Laboratory onsite in Bailey's Harbor in Door County. Read more about the sanctuary's plans for the Living Laboratory here.

Sheboygan County ($75,000)

Sheboygan County will use this grant from the Fund to begin restoration of Amsterdam Dunes, a spectacular 328-acre parcel along the shores of Lake Michigan that was recently acquired by the county. Amsterdam Dunes is one of the largest undeveloped dune complexes on Lake Michigan's western shore.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences ($190,000)

This project will create a Harbor Habitat Map that identifies the diversity and location of existing fish forage and spawning habitat in the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC) with a specific focus on the harbor. The results will help the DNR and other stakeholders improve habitat for a range of fish species including possibly yellow perch, a popular sport fish.

University of Wisconsin-Sea Grant ($17,000)

This study will measure the impacts of beach restoration projects on local communities in Wisconsin. The study will focus on six beaches along Lake Michigan.

Woodland Dunes Nature Center ($100,000)

The Nature Center will restore Forget-Me-Not Creek, a two-mile stream that runs through the nature center’s 1315-acre preserve and flows into Lake Michigan just south of Two Rivers.   Woodland Dunes will remove fish barriers near the mouth of the stream and will restore upstream wetlands to substantially improve habitat and water quality. 

 

Milwaukee River Watershed

City of Glendale ($20,000)

The city will use green infrastructure to demonstrate the use of stormwater BMPs at the new Glendale-Nicolet Recreational Park near the Milwaukee River.  As a recreational and community facility, the site is an ideal location to raise public awareness and showcase best practices in this densely developed community.

City of Milwaukee ($25,000)

The city will design and test a new pilot program to encourage private property owners to retrofit existing parking lots with green infrastructure. The pilot program will offer financial incentives to businesses in an area of the city that is prone to flooding and basement backups. 

Greater Milwaukee Committee ($60,000)

GMC will create a linear park along the recently-completed Beerline Recreational Trail as part of the Beerline Trial Neighborhood Development Project, a collaboration convened by the Greater Milwaukee Committee and Riverworks Development Corporation.  Funding will support the development of a stormwater management plan for the park, green infrastructure demonstration projects on rehabilitated houses near the trail, and a new We Grow Greens greenhouse with related programming

Mequon Nature Preserve ($49,000)

This grant will help to restore wetlands at the 438-acre Mequon Nature Preserve by uncapping a recently discovered artesian well on the site of an old farmstead on the property and capturing storm runoff from nearby agricultural land.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper ($47,400)

Riverkeeper aims to put Milwaukee on a "Low Salt Diet" by monitoring salt levels in area rivers and working to educate private property owners on the impacts of salt application. These private parties account for more than 50% of salt pollution in the watershed and represent a significant opportunity to improve water quality through education and outreach.

Milwaukee Water Commons ($15,000)

The Fund makes this grant to support on-the-ground projects undertaken by neighborhood leaders through the Milwaukee Water Commons' innovative "Water School," which aims to involve neighborhood and community groups in water stewardship.

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust ($50,000)

This project builds on an existing partnership between Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's Greenseams program to identify sites along the Milwaukee River with high potential for flood storage and ecological restoration. The partners have since acquired many of these properties; this grant will enable them to begin restoration efforts.

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust ($21,000)

OWLT will work with the City of Mequon and other partners to develop a strategic plan for land protection within the city.  The plan will identify high priority opportunities for land acquisition and restoration with a specific focus on water quality, wildlife habitat and farmland preservation. 

Reflo and Southeast Wisconsin Watersheds Trust ($65,000)

Reflo will use this grant to provide low-cost design/build services to schools interested in greening their schoolyards and creating outdoor classrooms where students learn about the water cycle through rain gardens, green roofs, cisterns and other natural rainwater catchment systems.

River Revitalization Foundation ($120,000)

This project will improve river access, create in-stream habitat, reduce runoff and restore a steep bluff along the Milwaukee River near Capitol Drive on Milwaukee’s north side.  As part of the project, RRF will work with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps crews to connect the site to an extensive network of pedestrian trails trail within the 878-acre Milwaukee River Greenway.

Riveredge Nature Center and Wisconsin DNR ($99,325)

This ongoing partnership between Riveredge and the Wisconsin DNR is working to re-establish a breeding population of Lake Sturgeon in the Milwaukee River Watershed after a 100-year absence. This most recent grant from the Fund will help the program to build on its successes of the past 10 years and make improvements that will lead to higher survival rates for Milwaukee River sturgeon.

Southeast Wisconsin Watersheds Trusts (aka Sweet Water) ($75,000)

Sweet Water will coordinate efforts among multiple stakeholders to restore habitat and reduce water pollution at high-priority sites throughout the Milwaukee River Watershed, which spans seven counties and 83 municipalities. This project will inform the development of a detailed Watershed Restoration Plan for the Milwaukee River.

Walnut Way Conservation Corps ($100,000)

This grant will help Walnut Way to capture and reuse 62,500 gallons of stormwater on Walnut Way's Urban Campus - an interconnected network of repurposed vacant lots, orchards, production gardens, residential properties and commercial businesses on Milwaukee's north side. Cisterns, bioswales, stormwater trees, porous paving, and green roofs will be installed throughout the neighborhood.

Village of Grafton ($35,000)

The village will stabilize 1,200 of shoreline at Veteran’s Memorial Park along the Milwaukee River using green materials and native plantings.  The project is part of a larger effort to increase public access and recreational opportunities at the three-acre park in downtown Grafton. 

Kinnickinnic River Watershed

Alverno College ($18,500)

These funds will help students and faculty of Alverno College to conduct a Green Infrastructure Study for the college's 46-acre campus. The Alverno campus is home to much of the last remaining open land within the highly developed Kinnickinnic River Watershed and provides some of the best opportunities to capture and treat large volumes of stormwater before it enters the river. Read more about the green infrastructure elements of the College's improvement plan here.

Sixteenth Street Community Health Center ($150,000)

Sixteenth Street will use this grant from the Fund to engage residents and other stakeholders in the Pulaski Park Neighborhood in efforts to transform the health of the Kinnickinnic River Watershed. Plans include installing rain barrels, rain gardens, bioswales, porous materials, and other green infrastructure on public and private property throughout the Pulaski Park neighborhood. Read more about the Pulaski Park neighborhood project here.

Menomonee River Watershed

Forest Exploration Center ($20,000)

This grant will help develop a green infrastructure and stormwater management plan as part of a larger effort to restore and develop recreational and educational facilities at this 67-acre wooded site along the Menomonee River in Wauwatosa.

Village of Elm Grove ($75,000)

The Village will use this grant from the Fund to begin "daylighting" a 900-foot stretch of Underwood Creek. The creek currently runs under a large parking lot in downtown Elm Grove and is entirely enclosed within a concrete box culvert, which prevents the creek from housing vegetation or wildlife habitat and is a significant barrier to fish migration.

Water Council ($60,000)

The Water Council will work with two facilities within the Menomonee Valley to fully implement the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s (AWS) new water standard similar to LEED certification for buildings.  This will be the first time a site in North America has gone through the AWS process and the experience will set an example for other entities that are looking to improve their water footprint. 

Multiple Watersheds

Great Lakes Community Conservation ($18,700)

This grant will support AmeriCorps crews in southeast Wisconsin.  These crews will work in partnership with several community organizations to improve water quality and fish passage, eradicate invasive species, and help to implement residential best management practices for managing stormwater.

Southeast Wisconsin Watersheds Trust ($60,000)

This grant will support Sweet Waters’ Mini-Grant Program which provides grants of up to $5,000 for small-scale habitat, restoration and green infrastructure projects that improve water quality in the Milwaukee area.

Milwaukee County ($60,000)

The county will restore habitat and reduce runoff and sedimentation at eight riparian and lakefront sites within the Milwaukee County Park System.  Students from local colleges and high schools will help with plantings and will learn about restoration through in-class lectures and workshops. 

Oak Creek Watershed

City of Racine ($107,500)

With this grant from the Fund, the City of Racine will monitor water quality at 17 high-priority locations throughout the Oak Creek watershed. The results of the monitoring will inform plans to clean up Milwaukee's Grant Park Beach as well as a comprehensive Watershed Restoration Plan for Oak Creek, which is the last major watershed in Southeast Wisconsin that lacks such a plan.

Milwaukee County Parks ($25,000)

The county will work with municipalities and other stakeholders within the Oak Creek Watershed on a detailed restoration plan for the watershed.   The plan will serve as a guide to future watershed improvements and investments by providing a detailed and prioritized list of recommended projects and related cost estimates to improve water quality.

Pike River Watershed

Hawthorn Hollow ($10,000)

Hawthorn Hollow, a nature sanctuary and arboretum located on the South Branch of the Pike River in Kenosha County, will use this grant from the Fund to create new wetland habitat on the sanctuary property and manage stormwater runoff into the Pike River. Plans include creating a swale to redirect stormwater away from a road surface, where it currently flows directly into the river.

Kenosha County ($47,500)

The county will design plans to curb streambank erosion along 4,300 linear feet of the Pike River in Petrifying Springs County Park. Erosion is a major issue for the river, particularly in the upper reaches, and impacts water quality and recreational activities at this popular park.

Root River Watershed

Hunger Task Force ($22,000)

This grant will help to restore 13 acres along the Root River at the 208-acre Hunger Task Force Farm in Franklin.  Crews from Hunger Task Force will stabilize streambanks, remove invasive species and conduct prescribed burns. 

Root-Pike Watershed Initiative ($50,000)

This grant will help municipalities, landowners and other stakeholders implement the recommendations of the recently completed Watershed Restoration Plans for Wind Point and the Pike and Root Rivers. 

Lower Fox River Watershed

Alliance for the Great Lakes ($75,435)

This grant will allow the Alliance to work with the City of Appleton to develop adaptive management strategies for reducing the amount of phosphorus entering the Lower Fox River, which is a significant source of phosphorus pollution in Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

The Nature Conservancy ($100,000)

With this grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan, The Nature Conservancy will restore 88 acres of wetlands in the Silver Creek watershed, part of a larger project by New Water in Green Bay to evaluate the most cost-effective methods of reducing phosphorus in Wisconsin waterways. Read more about the Silver Creek project here.

Sheboygan River Watershed

Girl Scouts of Manitou ($15,000)

The Girl Scouts will use this grant to remove a dam on their property at Camp Evelyn on the Mullet River near Plymouth, WI. The Mullet is a popular trout stream in Sheboygan County. Removing the dam will allow fish to migrate farther upriver and will also lower water temperatures, both of which will improve conditions for trout.

Yahara River Watershed

Clean Lakes Alliance ($60,000)

Clean Lakes Alliance will conduct research on the impact windrow composting, a new manure management practice, has on water quality.  This practice is becoming popular, particularly on large dairy farms, and may be a tool to reduce phosphorus in Lake Michigan.

·         University of Wisconsin-Sea Grant - $17,000 to measure the impacts of beach restoration projects on local communities in Wisconsin. The study will focus on six beaches along Lake Michigan.

2014 Grants

Center for Resilient Cities ($25,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting the Center for Resilient Cities’ work in partnership with Milwaukee County and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee to restore and revitalize a 17-acre area that includes Johnsons Park, recently rated one of the most neglected public spaces in Milwaukee County. The large-scale improvement project will involve new sports fields, an outdoor performance space, walking and cycling paths, as well as environmental restoration. This grant will support the construction of an infiltration basin to prevent flooding in the park and surrounding neighborhood.

City of Brookfield ($25,000)
With support from the Fund for Lake Michigan, the City of Brookfield will build a suite of innovative stormwater management features into the planned redevelopment of the 124th Street Industrial Corridor. Porous sidewalks, bioswales, green street tree wells, and absorbent soil amendments will mitigate the pollution potential of an industrial area and provide an opportunity to demonstrate green infrastructure to the public.

City of Sturgeon Bay ($100,000)
The City will use a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to restore Bradley Lake, also known as Little Lake, located in a popular community park in Sturgeon Bay. Water quality in the lake has degraded significantly in recent years as a result of stormwater runoff, invasive species and associated urban problems. The grant will help the city daylight a storm sewer that currently drains directly into Bradley Lake and create an alternative overland biofiltration drainage system, which will restore water quality as well as habitat and recreation potential to this high-profile site. Click here to read the history of "Little Lake."

Discovery World, LTD ($200,000)
Discovery World is constructing the Fund for Lake Michigan Sea of Sustainability Lab, a new programming and exhibition space dedicated to aquatic science and freshwater resources. In addition to its contributions to public science literacy, the Sea of Sustainability Lab will highlight restoration and sustainability initiatives like those supported by the Fund and expand the hands-on educational opportunities available to the youth of the region.

Ducks Unlimited, Inc. ($150,000)
The Fund is supporting Ducks Unlimited in their coordinated efforts to restore three ecologically significant wetlands in the Green Bay and Door County area. The project involves bathymetric study and sediment dredging at Dunes Lake; native revegetation of shallow-water habitat in the Duck Creek Delta; and design and engineering for a 36-acre system of created and connected wetlands that will provide habitat as well as store and treat up to 24 million gallons of stormwater runoff at LH Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve.

Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps ($9,375)
This grant to the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps will support AmeriCorps crews working on the ground to implement high-priority projects identified in the Watershed Restoration Plans for the Menomonee and Root River watersheds. The AmeriCorps crews will work in partnership with several community organizations to improve water quality and fish passage, eradicate invasive species, and help to implement residential best management practices.

Great Lakes Future ($100,000)
With the help of a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan, Great Lakes Future will launch “Inner Harbor 2020” — a public-private partnership to restore Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor, a key project outlined in the City of Milwaukee’s sustainability plan, ReFresh Milwaukee, and a high-priority target for restoration within the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern. In the initial stage of the project, Great Lakes Future will marshal community resources to develop a Land Use and Water Resources Plan outlining the shared vision of the diverse partners and stakeholders.

Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership ($100,000)
Record flooding in early summer 2008 drained a coastal wetland on the Little Manitowoc River, leaving a mud flat that filled in with invasive species and preventing migratory fish from spawning upstream. The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership will use a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to reconnect the reaches of the river and re-establish a wetland with native vegetation, restoring fish and waterfowl habitat and improving local access to the river system. Read more about the project here.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper ($30,000)
This grant will support Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s ongoing work removing impediments to fish passage in the Menomonee River watershed. Previous work on the project has involved identifying and prioritizing physical barriers in the watershed. During this phase of the project, Riverkeeper will remove several significant barriers and continue to work with local agencies to prioritize their work.

Milwaukee Teacher Education Center ($25,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting MTEC for the installation of green infrastructure at the Milwaukee Environmental Sciences Charter School, a public charter on the northwest side of Milwaukee. A rooftop catchment system will transport rainwater via clear pipes through the school’s science lab to cisterns, where it will be used to irrigate gardens in the schoolyard. Concrete surfaces in the schoolyard will be removed to make way for native plantings and rain gardens. The project will provide opportunities for educating students about water sustainability and serve as a demonstration of green infrastructure for other potential school sites.

Ozaukee County Land and Water Management ($20,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting Ozaukee County’s stormwater remediation activities on the Lake Michigan shoreline at Harrington Beach State Park. The park has experienced frequent beach closures and advisories due to poor water quality caused by concentrated stormwater runoff in two locations where roads terminate at the beach. Ozaukee County will design construction-ready plans for naturalized methods to capture and infiltrate runoff before it reaches the beach, reducing contamination and improving water quality as well as enjoyment of the park.

Ozaukee County Land and Water Management ($25,000)
Ozaukee County will use another grant from the Fund to implement rain gardens on private properties in the upper Milwaukee River watershed. By targeting properties that are highly visible in the community, the County will help to spread and popularize rain gardens, which capture 90% of nutrients and 80% of sediment from stormwater runoff, and absorb 30% more water than do conventional turf-grass lawns.

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust ($15,000)
This grant will help OWLT develop a strategic plan for acquiring and restoring land in the upper Milwaukee River watershed with a focus on flood mitigation. Such a plan will position OWLT to work efficiently with MMSD’s Green Seams program, which will soon expand into Ozaukee and Washington counties, assisting public and private land managers to target flood-prone areas and buffers in their land protection efforts.

Racine County Economic Development Corporation ($175,000)
With this grant the Fund for Lake Michigan renews its ongoing support of RootWorks, an ambitious redevelopment plan for the Root River Corridor in Downtown Racine. This phase of the project will involve using recycled dredge material to fill in Belle Harbor, a small craft marina that became unusable as the river filled it up with sediment. Fund support will also help to restore and stabilize an area along West Bluff that will be the site of future pedestrian and bicycle paths, interpretive activities, and a scenic overlook.

Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee ($20,000)
The City will use this grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to install, test, and showcase a new prefabricated porous concrete product made by Spancrete, a Waukesha company, on Freshwater Way in front of the Global Water Center. This is a high-visibility area that attracts water professionals and businesses from around the world, and as such provides a high-impact opportunity to demonstrate locally produced green infrastructure technology.

Sixteenth Street Community Health Center ($30,759)
The Sixteenth Street Community Health Center is working in partnership with Climate Interactive to develop a decision support tool that will be available to groups locally and nationwide to better inform green infrastructure projects. The grant from the Fund will help to refine the tool; develop a watershed curriculum for the Kinnickinnic River based on the tool; engage stakeholders in decisionmaking on green infrastructure; and establish a fund for participants to further green infrastructure development.

Town of Somers ($27,541)
With this grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan, the Town of Somers will make several water-quality improvements to Neumiller Woods Park, at the headwaters of the Somers branch of the Pike River. By scraping a sedimented area of wetland, restoring native vegetation, and replacing an undersized culvert, this project will reduce flooding in the area surrounding the park and decrease polluted runoff into the Pike River. These improvements were informed and prioritized by a restoration plan that the Fund supported in 2013. 

UEC/MVP Project, Inc. ($40,000)
This grant builds on the Fund’s earlier investments in Three Bridges Park, a popular 24-acre Milwaukee city park opened in 2013 in the Menomonee Valley on the site of a former abandoned railyard. In this phase of the project, UEC/MVP will support the initial installation of a riparian buffer on the riverbank by establishing native vegetation in the restored area; partners will also implement water quality, floristic, and soil monitoring to inform future management strategies.

The Water Council ($25,000)
This project by The Water Council will use a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to install, test, and analyze the costs and benefits of new “green and blue” roof technology at the MMSD headquarters. The “stock and flow” catchment systems, together with standard green roof technology, should increase rainfall retention by four inches and provide MMSD with data to establish criteria for their green roofs grant program.

WHEDA Foundation, Inc. ($25,000)
WHEDA Foundation and partners MMSD will use a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to further their development of the Transform Milwaukee Strategic Action Plan to restore Milwaukee’s five core industrial areas. This grant will support Transform Milwaukee’s plans for implementing green infrastructure to reduce flooding and basement backups in the targeted areas.

2013 Grants

City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works ($40,000)
The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works will pilot the use of prefabricated porous sidewalks as a cost-effective way to capture stormwater in parts of the city where impervious surface is the greatest. Building off experience from other parts of the country, the city will experiment with the use of pre-fabricated sidewalks to address quality-control issues that arise when pouring porous concrete on-site. Porous walkways have the potential to be widely incorporated into street and sidewalk reconstruction projects, which could dramatically reduce flooding issues in highly urbanized areas.

City of Oak Creek ($65,000 over two years)
As part of their redevelopment efforts at Drexel Town Square, the City of Oak Creek will use a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to build a floating wetland in a new stormwater pond that drains to existing wetlands onsite. The floating constructed wetland demonstrates a new technology that will provide educational opportunities in a high-profile area and improve water quality in the wetlands onsite and in the surrounding Lake Michigan watershed.

City of Racine ($224,800)
The City of Racine will design and stabilize 1,700 feet of streambank at two locations in city parks along the Root River, including 500 feet at the first site and 1,200 feet at the second site. These projects are identified as high-priority restorations in the recently released Root River Watershed Restoration Plan. Construction will include bioengineering solutions that utilize living plant and/or organic materials in combination with grading and engineered products.

City of Racine Health Department ($300,000 over two years)
The Fund for Lake Michigan awarded a grant to the City of Racine to clean up and restore three beaches in Racine and Kenosha that currently experience a large number of beach closings due to poor water quality. Funds will be used for construction of dunes, rain gardens, bioswales and other stormwater management features; native vegetation; beach nourishment; and improved access. These projects are modeled after Racine's very successful restoration of North Beach, which has had no closures since 2006 (after being closed an average of two-thirds of the season) and which now generates over $7,000,000 in revenue from beach users each summer.

City of West Allis ($30,000 over two years)
The City of West Allis will work with local property owners in conjunction with an MMSD program to replace foundation drains with sump pumps that discharge to rain gardens constructed onsite, cutting down on sewer overflows, reducing flooding, diverting pollution from Lake Michigan, and recharging groundwater systems with naturally infiltrated stormwater.

Mequon Nature Preserve ($36,546)
The Fund for Lake Michigan will help Mequon Nature Preserve restore an 18-acre wetland and hardwood forest remnant site by removing drain tile and re-contouring the area; removing invasive vegetation; and planting native plugs, shrubs and trees. Restoring the natural habitat will reduce polluted runoff into the Milwaukee and Menomonee River watersheds, and reduce flooding along Trinity Creek.

Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture ($50,300)
Milwaukee County DPRC will stabilize bluffs and reduce runoff in Bender and Grant Parks by constructing a 3,537 square foot parking lot rain garden, reestablishing 5 acres of forest, taking 48 acres of leased agricultural fields out of production and converting them to native prairie, converting 49.7 acres of mowed turf to prairie, and eradicating invasive plants on 143.6 acres of undeveloped land.

Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture ($35,00)
Milwaukee County will conduct a detailed hydraulic and structural evaluation of alternatives to repairing the Estabrook dam. The evaluation will help inform an Environmental Assessment of the dam and goes beyond what is typically required in an EA. The information generated through the more rigorous analysis will help ensure that a recommendation for repairing or abandoning the dam fully addresses safety, recreational, water quality, and habitat issues.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District ($200,000)
MMSD will develop engineering plans and specifications to remove five fish barriers along the Menomonee River. Addressing these barriers will ultimately improve passage for 39 fish species over 34 miles of habitat. The Fund's grant is contingent on MMSD and its partners securing funds for implementation.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District ($105,000)
MMSD will develop engineering and design work necessary to transform the highly contaminated Burnham Canal into a vibrant wetland. This high-profile project has received widespread public support and has the potential to dramatically improve habitat and water quality in the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern. 2014 update: Following the May 2014 passage of legislation removing Burnham Canal from federal authority, the restoration of the canal should go forward as planned.

Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department ($175,000 over two years)
Ozaukee County will build on its fish passage work by completing a large-scale aquatic habitat restoration project in Ulao Creek, which is now available for spawning thanks to the removal of fish passage impediments. Ulao Creek contains over one-quarter of all potential northern pike spawning habitat in the entire Milwaukee River watershed. Ozaukee County will improve the quality and accessibility of that habitat through a combination of channel re-meandering, floodplain reconnection, wetland creation and enhancement, invasive plant removal, native plant restoration, and installation of fish and wildlife habitat structures.

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Inc. ($50,000)
Support from the Fund for Lake Michigan will enable Ozaukee Washington Land Trust to implement its innovative Partners in Preservation program. They will control pioneer colonies of at least four aquatic invasive species including, but not limited to, Phragmites, Purple Loosestrife, Lyme Grass and Japanese Knotweed, on 1,500 acres of wetland and riparian habitat over a six-county area. The Fund's support will enable OWLT to treat pioneer colonies on private lands, preventing them from causing the reintroduction and spread of these invaders on recently treated public lands.

Racine County Economic Development Corporation ($50,000)
The Racine County Economic Development Corporation will identify opportunities to incorporate green infrastructure and restoration activities in the 325-acre downtown Racine Root River Corridor as part of the City's recently adopted RootWorks redevelopment plan. The Fund for Lake Michigan grant has been matched by SC Johnson and the City of Racine.

Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee ($50,000)
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee will install PaveDrain, an innovative permeable paving technology, along Freshwater Way at Reed Street Yards. This highly visible, 17-acre site along the Menomonee River will serve as the future home of the Global Water Technology Park. The site is an ideal location to highlight innovative green infrastructure and restoration strategies.

River Revitalization Foundation ($248,960)
RRF will restore 650 feet of Milwaukee River shoreline at the Wheelhouse site on the upstream end of the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC). The restored property will serve as the gateway to the Milwaukee River Greenway. The work done by RRF will improve riparian habitat, reduce runoff and facilitate fishery re-establishment in the river and will coincide with the grand opening of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum in September 2013. (The Fund also supported Rotary Centennial Arboretum with a grant in 2011.) The Wheelhouse site is directly across the river from the new arboretum and will be connected by trails.

Root–Pike Watershed Initiative Network ($25,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan has again renewed its support for the Root–Pike Watershed Initiative Network's Watershed-based Grant Program, which funds local projects that address water quality and habitat issues in the Root and Pike River watersheds.

The Shul Center ($40,000)
The Shul, with support from the Fund for Lake Michigan, will incorporate green infrastructure into its new parking lot design, installing porous pavement and a new bioswale to capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff and decrease nonpoint source pollutants draining into nearby Lake Michigan.

Sixteenth Street Community Health Center ($80,765 over two years)
The Sixteenth Street Community Health Center will bring together local partners and community members to develop a neighborhood-scale stormwater management plan for Pulaski Park, using a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to address water quality and flooding problems on the Lower Kinnickinnic River.

Southeast Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc. ("Sweet Water") ($25,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan continues to support Sweet Water's Water Quality Mini Grant program funding small, neighborhood-level projects aimed at improving water quality and restoring habitat in the Kinnickinnic and Menomonee River watersheds.

Southeast Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc. ("Sweet Water") ($25,000 over two years)
Sweet Water will use a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to create a plan identifying high-priority, cost-effective opportunities for riparian area restoration in the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic River watersheds.

Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church ($20,000)
As part of their food pantry and community gardens program, Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church will use a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to install a "working" intensive vegetated roof garden that will supply the food pantry with produce, provide education and job training for community members, and infiltrate or store for reuse up to 4,500 gallons of stormwater per rain event. Click here to read a Milwaukee Journal–Sentinel report on the rooftop gardening program.

Town of Somers ($65,000)
The Town of Somers will conduct an eco-hydrological analysis and restoration feasibility study of the entire Somers Branch of the Pike River, as well as site-specific restoration plans for two town-owned properties totaling just over 33 acres.

Village of Butler ($35,000)
The Village of Butler will restore and stabilize 125 linear feet of streambank on the north side of the Menomonee River in Frontier Park. The highly visible site is severely eroded and has been identified as a high priority in the Watershed Restoration Plan for the Menomonee River. FFLM funds would support the initial survey and engineering, as well as construction, including excavation and grading, installation of large rock, and the addition of top soils and native plantings.

Village of Shorewood ($16,110)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting the Village of Shorewood's ongoing efforts to stabilize and maintain a 100-foot bluff at Atwater Park (pdf) along Lake Michigan shoreline. The Village will improve the bluff and surrounding beach habitat and maintain existing restoration work.

Village of Mount Pleasant ($75,000 over two years)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting the latest phase of the ongoing Pike River Improvements Project, which involves an additional half-mile of streambank restoration, including native grass buffers, created wetlands, re-meandering channelized sections, and installing elements of in-stream aquatic habitat.

The Water Council ($35,000)
The Water Council will work with Hanging Gardens and the UW–Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences to install and run extensive testing on ten different vegetated roof systems on the roof of the Global Water Center building, providing consumers with a cost/value analysis for each system, in addition to infiltrating as many as 10,000 gallons of stormwater per rain event and helping to decrease the urban heat island effect. View photos of the installation of the green roof here.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ($50,000)
In 2007, the Wisconsin DNR constructed a spawning reef in the Milwaukee River downstream of the former North Avenue Dam to restore spawning habitat for lake sturgeon and walleye in the Milwaukee Estuary. With support from the Fund for Lake Michigan, DNR will adjust and enhance the reef, which has become partially exposed by recent historic low water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The restored reef will provide more than an acre of spawning habitat, increasing the sustainability of fish populations in the estuary. Read more here about the collaboration between DNR and Riveredge Nature Center to restore sturgeon to the Milwaukee River.

2012 Grants

1000 Friends of Wisconsin ($210,000 over two years)
1000 Friends of Wisconsin, in partnership with Milwaukee County and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, will work with nine municipalities within the Menomonee River Watershed to identify and address barriers to green infrastructure that currently exist in local codes and ordinances. Recommendations to update codes and ordinances will be prioritized based on their potential impact on water quality.

City of Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability ($75,000)
The City of Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability will prepare a Green Infrastructure Baseline Inventory that identifies high-priority sites for green infrastructure within city limits. This information will help guide public and private investments in green infrastructure and will be incorporated into the City's forthcoming Sustainability Plan. 2013 update: Milwaukee released its first sustainability plan, ReFresh Milwaukee, in July 2013. View the water resources baseline and green infrastructure actions and practices here.

Mequon Nature Preserve ($58,873 over two years)
The Mequon Nature Preserve will use funds from The Fund for Lake Michigan to help restore 438 acres of predominantly agricultural land to its pre-settlement condition of a beech-maple forest and wetlands. Restoring the natural habitat will reduce polluted runoff into the Milwaukee and Menomonee River watersheds, and reduce flooding along Trinity Creek.

Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation, & Culture ($100,000)
Milwaukee County will work with stakeholders to develop a full conceptual plan for the reconstruction of the McKinley Marina using sustainable design concepts and best stormwater management practices. The 11-acre project area includes public boat ramps, boat washes, dry dock storage, maintenance areas and parking lots. These areas currently drain directly into Lake Michigan without treatment. 2013 update: the final report for phase I of the McKinley Marina reconstruction plan was released in September 2013.

Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation, & Culture ($220,000 over 2 years)
The Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Culture will convert a degraded 2.5-acre man-made lagoon near the intersection of Burleigh Street and the Menomonee River Parkway into a six-acre wetland surrounded by four acres of restored upland habitat. The restored area will trap stormwater and pollutants that currently drain directly into the Menomonee River.

Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition / Milwaukee Environmental Consortium ($108,830)
The Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition will restore five steep bluffs in the Milwaukee River Greenway that were severely eroded during the unprecedented storms of July 2010.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper ($86,300 over two years)
Milwaukee Riverkeeper will work in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Great Lakes WATER Institute (now in the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences) to monitor and identify stormwater outfalls that contribute human sewage to the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern due to illicit sanitary sewer connections or leaking sewer pipes.

Natural Resources Defense Council ($25,000)
The Natural Resources Defense Council will work in partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District on a study to determine how local stormwater fees and credits for reducing impervious surfaces can be adapted for financing green infrastructure.

Ozaukee County Land and Water Management Department ($56,792)
Ozaukee County will determine the baseline phosphorus levels on agricultural land by testing soil and calculating the Phosphorus Index for each farm field within the Ulao Creek Watershed. This information will help the county and its partners develop targeted and cost effective strategies to measurably reduce phosphorus in the Milwaukee River Watershed.

Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department ($249,956 over two years)
Support from the Fund for Lake Michigan will enable The Ozaukee Planning and Parks Department to inventory and remediate 21 fish passage impediments in eight Milwaukee River tributaries in the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern. The project will restore direct access to an estimated 3.43 miles of in-stream habitat.

Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee ($125,000)
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee will re-grade and stabilize 900 feet of degraded riverbank along the north bank of the Menomonee River in the Menomonee Valley. The restoration activities will remove an estimated 18 tons or 85 percent of suspended solids from stormwater runoff annually.

Root-Pike WIN ($25,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan has renewed its support for the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network's Watershed-based Grant Program, which funds local projects that address water quality and habitat issues in the Root and Pike River watersheds.

Root-Pike WIN ($256,630 over two years)
Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network will develop a Watershed Restoration Plan for the Wind Point watershed that gathers the input of a diverse group of stakeholders and provides a prioritized action plan for implementing best management practices to improve water quality. The project will also include extensive water quality monitoring by the City of Racine Health Department to identify sources of pollution and potential remedies.

Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc. ($25,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan has renewed its support for the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust's Water Quality Mini-Grant program, which funds neighborhood-level projects aimed at improving water quality and restoring and improving habitat in Southeast Wisconsin watersheds.

UEC/MVP Project Inc. ($74,875)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting the joint efforts of the Urban Ecology Center and Menomonee Valley Partners to transform a 24-acre brownfield and former rail yard along the Menomonee River into a park and outdoor classroom. Support from the Fund will help reduce erosion, treat contaminated runoff, and improve water quality and habitat along a 2,600-foot-long stretch of the river. 2014 update: Three Bridges Park opened in 2013 as Milwaukee's largest city park. The Fund continues to support UEC/MVP in establishing native vegetation, maintaining restored areas, and monitoring for soil and water quality.

2011 Grants

American Rivers Inc. ($187,557)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting American Rivers' implementation of two green infrastructure projects in the Wilson Park Creek sub-watershed of the Kinnickinnic River, improving water quality by keeping sediment, nutrients, oil, and other surface toxins from entering local waterways.

City of Port Washington ($150,000 over two years)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting the City of Port Washington's efforts to remove fish barriers and restore habitat (pdf) on the lower portions of Sauk and Mineral Springs Creeks in downtown Port Washington. The project will also improve public access and recreational opportunities.

City of Racine Health Department ($175,140 over two years)
The City of Racine is conducting a baseline assessment of water quality in the Root River in support of the development of a Root River Watershed Restoration Plan. Supported in part by the Fund for Lake Michigan, the data will provide baseline information on current conditions and help to gauge improvements from future restoration projects.

Groundwork Milwaukee ($83,375 over two years)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting Groundwork Milwaukee's efforts to restore un-channelized portions of the Kinnickinnic River's upper estuary. The project is part of a larger partnership to restore the Kinnickinnic watershed and will help improve the area's ecological health, create local economic opportunities, and serve as a demonstration project for other restoration work on the river.

Groundwork Milwaukee ($175,910 over two years)
The Fund for Lake Michigan has awarded a grant to Groundwork Milwaukee to for their Gateway to Improving Long-term Spawning (GILS) project. Groundwork Milwaukee will install 15 "fish hotels" and 250 "HUBS," or hanging underwater baskets, to improve habitat for fish along 15 miles of hardened shoreline in the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern.

Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee ($225,000)
As part of a major neighborhood redevelopment, the Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting the installation of bioswales throughout the HACM's Westlawn Housing Development. The bioswales will reduce and filter runoff by 158,000 gallons per inch of stormwater in Lincoln Creek, preventing harmful sediment and nutrients from reaching local waterways.

Kenosha County Division of Parks ($234,000)
The Petrifying Springs dam is the last remaining dam on the Pike River and is a significant obstacle to seasonal migrations of fish, including Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, and steelhead. The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting the removal of the dam and construction of a 40-foot-long clear span bridge to provide fish access to 22 miles of stream and to improve the overall ecological health of the Pike River.

Kenosha County Division of Parks ($102,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is also supporting the design and engineering phase of the removal of a non-functional dam in Petrifying Springs Park and the stabilization of the stream bank following the removal of the dam. (See above.) Implementation of this planning work will improve habitat and water quality in the watershed.

Kenosha Storm Water Utility ($184,030 over two years)
The gaps in existing water quality data for the Pike River inhibit effective and informed efforts to improve the overall ecological health of the watershed. With support from the Fund for Lake Michigan, the Kenosha Storm Water Utility will work with the City of Racine Health Department to fill gaps in existing water quality data by monitoring 31 sites in the Pike River.

Menomonee Valley Partners ($18,500)
The Fund for Lake Michigan will help Menomonee Valley Partners put into operation two industrial-size rain barrels under the 35th Street viaduct. The rain barrels will capture and filter 68,000 gallons of rainwater a year, reducing the amount of polluted runoff flowing into the Menomonee River.

Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee ($148,000 over two years)
With support from the Fund for Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Department of City Development will prepare and begin initial implementation of a site plan to restore a degraded 6.5-acre wetland located at the former site of the Grand Trunk railroad in Milwaukee's inner harbor.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District ($13,810)
As part of its Greenseams program, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District will use grant monies from the Fund for Lake Michigan to convert and restore 42 acres of agricultural land within the floodplain of the Menomonee River.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District ($17,597)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting MMSD's planting a total of 25,000 trees covering 33 acres of land on the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers. The reforestation projects will convert agricultural properties into vegetated floodplains, reducing pollutants and improving water quality while providing critical habitat for wetland and migratory species.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper ($34,642)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting Milwaukee Riverkeeper's work with the Village of Menomonee Falls. Funding from the Fund for Lake Michigan will be used to stabilize and restore the stream bank in Rotary Park, a popular 60-acre park located at the confluence of the Menomonee River and the Nor-X-Way channel. The site has been identified as a significant contributor of sediment loading.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper ($34,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting Milwaukee Riverkeeper's ongoing efforts to collect data on phosphorus levels at 52 sites throughout the Milwaukee River Basin using citizen monitors. This innovative and successful program may serve as a model for other efforts to collect phosphorous data using volunteers.

Ozaukee County Land and Water Management ($120,000 over two years)
The Fund is supporting Ozaukee County's Land and Water Management department in implementing an agricultural buffer and field border initiative designed to reduce the levels of pollution in Sauk and Sucker Creeks, while restoring and preserving usable habitat for wildlife.

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Inc. ($139,000 over two years)
OWLT is conducting a habitat management campaign along the Lake Michigan Flyway, an important route for migratory songbirds. With support from the Fund for Lake Michigan, OWLT is removing invasive species and replacing them with native vegetation; stabilizing coastal bluffs, gorges, and stream banks; and monitoring restored habitat for use by wildlife.

Racine County Land Conservation Division ($100,000 over three years)
With a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan, Racine County will work with farmers to install 33.3 acres of riparian buffers along the Root River and its tributaries to reduce agricultural runoff and subsequent erosion and sedimentation.

River Network ($25,000)
A grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan will enable River Network to identify a watershed in southeastern Wisconsin to serve as a "Learning Laboratory" for implementing riparian buffer protection and restoration programs. Once the watershed is selected, River Network will work with local stakeholders to create a campaign promoting the use of riparian buffers.

River Revitalization Foundation ($65,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan has awarded a grant to the River Revitalization Foundation to work with local stakeholders on a site plan to stabilize and restore the highly degraded stream bank along the Menomonee River in Milwaukee County's Granville Park, a popular off-leash dog park.

Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network ($25,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is providing support for Root-Pike WIN's Watershed-Based Grant Program, which funds small local projects to address water quality and habitat issues in the Root and Pike River watersheds.

Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network ($180,000 over two years)
The Fund is supporting Root-Pike WIN's efforts to develop a Watershed Restoration Plan for the Pike River that gathers the input of a diverse group of stakeholders and provides a prioritized action plan for implementing best management practices to improve water quality.

Sand County Foundation ($98,000)
The Sand County Foundation will begin research and stakeholder outreach to support the development of a pilot water quality market for phosphorus reductions in the Milwaukee River watershed. The pilot will employ a cooperative model in which farmers in a voluntary association would decide how to apportion money to producers who reduce agricultural runoff. 2013 update: watch a video on the Milwaukee River water quality project here

Sixteenth Street Community Health Center ($216,375 over two and a half years)
The Sixteenth Street Community Health Center is working to reduce nonpoint source pollution by engaging targeted communities in using stormwater best management practices and green infrastructure on their residential properties. The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting these efforts at three sites along the Kinnickinnic River.

Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust ("Sweet Water") ($25,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan provides support for Sweet Water's Water Quality Mini Grant program which funds small, neighborhood-level projects aimed at improving water quality and restoring and improving habitat in the Kinnickinnic and Menomonee watersheds.

Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust ("Sweet Water") ($111,600 over two years)
The Fund supports Sweet Water's work to develop a Watershed Restoration Plan for the Root River. Sweet Water, in partnership with Root-Pike WIN, will engage area stakeholders to develop a plan that provides specific, targeted recommendations to achieve improvements in water quality and mitigate fragmentation of aquatic and terrestrial habitat.

Urban Ecology Center ($100,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan is supporting the restoration of one mile of riparian corridor along the Milwaukee River as part of the Urban Ecology Center's Rotary Centennial Arboretum. The 40-acre site now includes barren industrial land and other degraded parcels. Support from the Fund for Lake Michigan will enable UEC to mitigate runoff threats, fill erosion gullies, create bioswales, and install biodegradable erosion control materials. 2013 update: Rotary Centennial Arboretum opened to the public in September 2013. Read the Milwaukee Journal–Sentinel article on the grand opening here.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Foundation ($500,000)
The Fund for Lake Michigan has awarded a challenge grant to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences to purchase a next-generation DNA sequencing tool to more quickly decode the genetic makeup of organisms in Lake Michigan and provide policymakers and other stakeholders the data they need to make more informed decisions on the region's water system. 2014 update: UWM met this challenge in 2013. The grant from the Fund will help the School of Freshwater Sciences cement its reputation as a global center of innovative research on freshwater.

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