Great Lakes Region

Videos were released this month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) highlighting the economic and environmental impact of restoration work in Muskegon, Michigan, and at the Little Rapids portion of the St. Marys River.  The GLC and NOAA are working together to restore the Muskegon Lake and St. Marys River Areas of Concern (AOCs) — two Great Lakes “toxic hotspots.”

The videos, produced by Michigan’s Issue Media Group, reveal how restoration work is enhancing quality of life for local and regional residents and businesses. When completed, the Muskegon projects are expected to increase property values by nearly $12 million, attract 65,000 new visitors annually, and enhance the Muskegon Lake Fishery, which each year contributes more than $1 million to the local economy. A 2011 study determined that over 15 years, dollars invested in Muskegon Lake restoration would result in a 6-to-1 return to the local economy. The Little Rapids Restoration Project has recently completed construction of a new bridge on Sugar Island in the St. Marys River, reestablishing the flow to the Little Rapids for the first time in more than 50 years. This work is expected to lead to improved habitat for native fish populations, revitalized tourism and sport fishing opportunities on the river, and better community access via a new pedestrian walkway.

For more information about this project, please visit the NOAA Habitat Restoration website here.

Image depicting construction site at Bear Creek.

The West Pond of the Bear Creek Habitat Restoration and Hydrologic Reconnection project is under construction to restore flood plain and wetlands adjacent to the Muskegon River. The phosphorus rich sediments of this former celery pond have been removed, native wetland is being restored, and fish habitat structures are being placed along this tributary of Muskegon Lake. Photo credit: Terry Heatlie.

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