Ashland, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Several collaborative projects focused on the health and restoration of Wisconsin's Chequamegon bay region are underway.
The projects are part of a 2–year statewide Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to protect the Great lakes.
Representatives from Congressman Sean Duffy's office toured some of those projects in Ashland on Tuesday.
Members of the Chequamegon Bay Area Partnership been granted more than $1 million in federal funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
"I mean we live on the shores of lake superior, one of the most pristine areas in the country and everybody wants to do there part to help protect and preserve that," Danielle Kaeding of Northland College said.
The Chequamegon Bay Area Partnership is a regional network of tribal government, municipalities, non profit organizations and government agencies.
To protect the Great Lakes, it's focused on five culvert, beach and shoreline restoration projects in the Ashland area.
"We do things like replace failing culverts, or repair eroding stream banks, or re–vegetate with native species or monitor water quality at beaches, and look at different types of projects to include the health of the beaches," Randy Lehr, a Professor of Sustainable Regional Development said.
"The Ashland Chequamegon Bay Shoreline Restoration Project" is focused on replanting and restoring vegetation that lines the shoreline.
Agencies have adopted what they call a "slow the flow" management approach.
"A lot of times when vegetation is removed off the landscape, the water washes off much more quickly, and it carries sediment and other pollutants down into the streams and ultimately into the lake, and so the focus a lot of our management is to slow the rate of that runoff," Lehr said.
The Great Lake Restoration Initiative is part of 51 projects statewide totaling nearly $30 million.
"Anytime when we can get additional grant funds in to supplement existing funds that we work with and combine our partnership efforts across the landscape, we get a bigger bang for our buck," Tom Fratt, Ashland County Conservationist said.
New culverts constructed with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are designed to weather 100–year flood events, like the one we saw last June.