Recently Approved Projects


Great Lakes Stewardship

Grant title: Watershed Education and Stewardship Teams (W.E.S.T.)
Grant number: 2016.1613
Recipient: Maria Affhalter
Organization: Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Grant period: April 4, 2016–June 29, 2018
Dollars granted: $10,000

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council will work with local partners and nearby Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative hubs to develop a program plan for Watershed Education and Stewardship Teams (W.E.S.T.), which will provide outdoor and classroom watershed experience to increase watershed science literacy for middle-school science students in Northern Michigan schools.

Grant title: Spotlight on Stewards
Grant number: 2016.1612
Recipient: Riley Sutika
Organization: Detroit Educational Television Foundation
Grant period: June 15, 2016–June 15, 2017
Dollars granted: $40,000

The Spotlight on Stewards Project is a collaborative pilot program between the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition and Detroit Public Television’s (DPTV’s) Great Lakes Bureau. It will facilitate connected, engaged communities within Michigan working toward the common goal of protecting and advocating for the health of the Great Lakes through restoration and preservation. DPTV will provide digital content, promote the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition, and expose participating students to the field of environmental journalism.

Grant title: Woodlands & Waters—Three Tiers of Stakeholder Engagement in the Heart of the Great Lakes
Grant number: 2016.1608
Recipient: Lisha Ramsdell
Organization: Huron Pines
Grant period: April 1, 2016–December 31, 2017
Dollars granted: $89,996

Huron Pines will build on existing partnerships to promote wise stewardship of land and water through nature-based experiential learning in the heart of Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. By taking a three-tiered approach to empower K12 students, adult citizens, and Michigan leaders in understanding and protecting natural resources, this project will strengthen the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Network and connect healthy Great Lakes natural communities to caring, engaged people and communities.

Grant title: Outdoor Adventure Center Great Lakes Fisheries Learning Program
Grant number: 2016.1606
Recipient: Matt Lincoln
Organization: Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Grant period: April 1, 2016–April 1, 2017
Dollars granted: $15,000

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will work with local partners, including the local Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative hub, to develop a program plan for educational programs at the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) in Detroit.

Habitat Protection and Restoration

Grant title: Thunder Bay Watershed Resource Inventories
Grant number: 2016.1661
Recipient: Josh Leisen
Organization: Huron Pines
Grant period: January 1, 2017–December 31, 2018
Dollars granted: $34,442.00

Huron Pines will conduct a comprehensive inventory of road-stream crossings in the Thunder Bay River Watershed, which covers 1,250 square miles in northern Michigan. The road-stream crossing inventory data, along with streambank erosion and invasive species inventory data that will be collected using matching funds, will be uploaded to publicly accessible websites, including Huron Pines’ and the Conservation Resource Alliance’s stream inventory site,, and the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) website, This information will greatly help resource managers identify future cost-effective and high-impact restoration projects to implement in the watershed.

Grant title: Reconnecting Blue Ribbon Trout Stream to Tributary Habitat—Au Gres River Watershed
Grant number: 2016.1659
Recipient: Josh Leisen
Organization: Huron Pines
Grant period: August 1, 2016–December 31, 2017
Dollars granted: $98,394

Huron Pines and partners will reconnect the upper East Branch of the Au Gres River, a state-designated Blue Ribbon Trout Stream, with several of its tributary streams. Five undersized road-stream crossings will be replaced with appropriately sized structures, and one small dam will be removed in order to restore natural river functions and allow brook trout and other aquatic wildlife to access 15 miles of high-quality spawning, rearing, foraging, and refuge habitat that is currently inaccessible.

Grant title: Grand Rapids Restoration Project
Grant number: 2015.1604
Recipient: Michael Scurlock
Organization: RiverRestoration
Grant period: February 1, 2016–June 1, 2016 (final report due July 2016) 
Dollars granted: $125,000

This project is investigating engineering and design approaches for an adjustable hydraulic structure (dam) that is proposed for installation on the Grand River to impede upstream infestation of sea lampreys. Results of the project will have important implications for the Grand River restoration efforts and other river systems throughout the Great Lakes basin.

Grant title: Pucker Street Dam Removal
Grant number: 2014.1490
Recipient: Marcy Colclough
Organization: Niles City
Grant period: May 1, 2014–December 31, 2017
Dollars granted: $400,000

In 2014, the GLFT approved a $200,000 grant to Niles City to support the Pucker Street dam removal. The dam is the most significant impairment affecting aquatic species connectivity and sediment transport on the Dowagiac River in southwest Michigan. The project will result in improved and safer access for fishing, as well as reconnect over 159 miles of the Dowagiac River system and 11,000 acres of wetlands to the St. Joseph River. Several fish species will benefit, including salmon, steelhead, walleye, smallmouth bass, and suckers.

Following the original GLFT grant, additional field work was completed that revealed a larger sediment deposit than anticipated and other complexities occurred, increasing the project budget. The GLFT awarded another $200,000 to support the dam removal, bringing the GLFT’s total grant award to $400,000 for this project.

Special Projects

Grant title: Analysis Design of Adjustable Barrier to Address Sea Lamprey Passage
Grant number: 1600
Recipient: Jason Carey
Organization: RiverRestoration
Grant period: January 1, 2016–June 1, 2016
Dollars granted: $125,000

The sea lamprey is an invasive species to the Great Lakes region that causes significant ecological and economic impact. Grant funds will be used to support an engineering study that that will assess the installation of an adjustable hydraulic structure on the Grand River to impede upstream infestation of sea lampreys. This project will also investigate specific operation of a barrier structure to create a hydraulic, condition-restricting passage and consider supplemental treatment options, such as electric barriers. Project results will have implications at the Grand River project site and throughout all impacted Great Lakes fisheries.