Sea Grant co-recipient of national conservation award

Michigan Sea Grant was co-recipient of a prestigious honor when the Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative (now called St. Clair Detroit River System Initiative or SCDRS) received the U.S. Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Award from Sally Jewell, secretary of the interior.

Mary Bohling, Sea Grant Extension educator, is involved in the initiative and attended the award ceremony Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C., along with representatives of co-recipients including the U.S. Geological Survey, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. (For a list of the initiative’s collaborators, click on huron-erie.org/partners.html.)

The Partners in Conservation Award recognizes groups that make exceptional contributions in achieving conservation goals through collaboration and partnering.

Michigan Sea Grant is a founding member of the initiative’s steering committee, which includes federal, tribal, state, provincial, local and nongovernmental partners working together since 2004 to address aquatic resource and management needs in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit and St. Clair rivers. Michigan Sea Grant has managed more than $3.7 million to support the restoration and evaluation of fish spawning habitat in the river system. Since the first restoration project at Belle Isle, Sea Grant has been the lead organization for three fish habitat restoration grants and will oversee reef construction efforts at two additional sites in 2014.

Approximately 2.5 acres of restored spawning habitat increased the spawning success of more than 12 native fish species. By the end of the 2014, initiative partners will have created nearly 10 acres of deep water, rocky spawning habitat for lake sturgeon, lake whitefish and walleye in the river system helping boost populations of these valuable fish.

When asked about the award, Mary said, “It is an honor to be a part of such an amazing team of scientists, educators and engaged citizens all working to improve conditions for fish and wildlife in the Detroit and St. Clair rivers and Lake St. Clair and to be recognized by the secretary of the interior.”

Michigan Sea Grant College Program is a cooperative program of the University of Michigan (UM) and Michigan State University (MSU) and is part of the National Sea Grant College Program. Michigan Sea Grant receives core funding from National Sea Grant within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Matching funds come from the UM, MSU, additional Michigan universities and other nonfederal sources.

Read more in the U.S. Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Awards Ceremony program: www.doi.gov/news/upload/PIC-2013-Final-Event-Program-1-16-2014.pdf

Read more and see a photo of the recipients in Mary’s MSU Extension News article: msue.anr.msu.edu/news/michigan_and_ontario_groups_earn_prestigious_department_of_interior_partner

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