Archived entries for Lake Superior

Return of a Lost Child

The Frog Bay area is an ecologically exceptional stretch of forest and shoreline located along Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin.  It features rare and endangered plants, pristine boreal forest, and a rich abundance of wildlife. Historically important to the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, it’s an area where they once harvested wild rice and much more. Then, being privately owned for over a century, it was inaccessible to the tribe and everyone else.

Frog Bay along Lake Superior’s Shoreline. Photo by Grandon Harris.

When the property’s most recent owners, the late Dave and Marjorie Johnson, began to contemplate the future of this special place and decided they’d like to ensure its preservation and protection forever, a friend and neighbor put them in touch with their local land trust, Bayfield Regional Conservancy (BRC).

First, BRC reached out to the Red Cliff Tribe to see if they would be interested in owning and stewarding this place that was once theirs—and of course, they were.  But financing the purchase of this land was a major obstacle for them. The Johnsons did not have the means to donate the entire parcel, and neither the tribe nor the land trust could afford to purchase the land outright.

Frog Bay Vegetation. Photo by Grandon Harris.

Luckily, BRC was able to help the Tribe secure the needed funds through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Estuarine Land Conservation Program and a few other sources. Brian Bainbridge, Vice Chairman of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, compares the reunion between this place and the Tribe as “the return of a lost child.”

And with the return of this place to the Tribe, it became a gift to us all, as the Frog Bay Tribal National Park.  “We’ve had people from all over the world to come visit” Bainbridge proudly shared.  And this place is more than a new destination spot; it’s an ecological treasure that plays an important role in protecting the water quality of Lake Superior and we will all benefit from this special place for generations to come.

Photo of Wisconsin Coastal Management Program Visit to Frog Bay

Photo of Wisconsin Coastal Management Program Visit to Frog Bay

 

Story by: Sandy Jensen

The Importance of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Recently the Green Bay Press Gazette, among various other major media outlets around the Great Lakes region, published editorials prompted by the Healing Our Waters Coalition. As a member of the Coalition and supporter of funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we at GWC thought you’d take interest in reading more about the importance of this funding to our drinking water, clean air, and jobs in the Midwest. We’ve pasted an excerpt from the Green Bay Press Gazette’s article below.

Editorial: Restore $300 million in funding for Great Lakes

Baird Creek

Baird Creek, which feeds into Lake Michigan via the Fox River in Green Bay, is protected through the efforts of our member land trust, the Baird Creek Preservation Foundation.

Starting Monday, Congress will begin discussing how to allocate $1.012 trillion in discretionary spending for fiscal year 2014.

It’s part of the congressional budget that passed Dec. 18 and increases discretionary spending from $986 billion in 2013 to $1.012 trillion for this fiscal year and $1.014 trillion next. Congress has until Jan. 15 to decide how to spend that money.

We have many suggestions for them, but for now we’ll confine it to one: Fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million.

The initiative aims to protect and restore the Great Lakes. More than $1.3 billion has been invested, so far, to clean up toxic pollution, reduce runoff from farms, restore habitat and fight invasive species.

Locally, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has also resulted in $1.5 million in funding for Brown County for the Cat Island Restoration Project and $2 million for the Renard Isle capping.

However, funding was cut — from $300 million to $285 million — in fiscal year 2013 and it would be reduced further, to $210 million, under current proposals.

The increase in discretionary spending in the next two years gives Congress the chance to fully fund the restoration efforts.

It has bipartisan support from members of the House and Senate in the eight Great Lakes states. They’ve sent letters to an appropriations subcommittee as well as the Corps of Engineers urging the restoration of the $300 million in funding and increased efforts to halt the advance of the Asian carp.

They can see a direct impact from the protection and restoration of this fresh water. For example, lakes Michigan and Superior supply 1.6 million Wisconsin residents with drinking water, provide 170,000 jobs and fishing for 250,000 people a year, according to Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. Across eight states, the impact is drinking water for 30 million people and 1.5 million jobs.

Outside of the Great Lakes states, protection and restoration of this natural resource is very important. The Great Lakes account for 84 percent of North America’s surface fresh water and 21 percent of the world’s. If we don’t take steps to protect it now, the problems will only get worse and the price tag will only increase.

We urge state residents to call their representatives in Congress and tell them to lobby for extra funding.



Gathering Waters • 211 S. Paterson St. Suite 270 • Madison, WI 53703 • PH 608-251-9131 • FX 608-663-5971 • [email protected]