MGLP awards $190,500 in grants to conserve fish habitat in lakes

The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership (MGLP) is awarding $190,500 through its Lake Conservation Grant to five projects across the Upper Midwest, benefiting glacial lakes, fish habitats, fish populations, and anglers for years to come. Grant funding is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the National Fish Habitat Partnership.

The 2019 MGLP Lake Conservation Grant recipients are:

  • Prairie Lake and Lizzie Lake fish passage; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; $30,000 award
  • Pickerel Lake shoreline restoration project; South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks; $30,000 award
  • Nutrient and sediment loads entering Lake Wawasee: A scientific approach to assess lake restoration strategies; Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation; $15,000 award
  • Building capacity for Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership conservation; Michigan Department of Natural Resources; $40,500 award
  • Working to meet National Fish Habitat Partnership goals and objectives through the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership; Michigan Department of Natural Resources; $75,000 award

The MGLP is currently accepting applications for the next round of Lake Conservation Grants, due October 15th. Learn more about the projects that received funding this year below.

Prairie Lake and Lizzie Lake fish passage

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

$30,000 award

Water level control dams owned by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) at the outlets to Lake Lizzie and Prairie Lake, a few miles apart on the Pelican River, are barriers to upstream fish passage. The MNDNR will modify these dams into arch-rapids, so that the dams’ function of setting lake levels is maintained while allowing upstream fish movement. The projects will benefit several species, including Walleye, various sucker species, and Lake Sturgeon. The DNR has been working for several years to meet the goal of the Red River Watershed Management Plan to restore Lake Sturgeon to this watershed, and other lakes in the Pelican River system have growing populations. By creating connectivity through these lakes, Lake Sturgeon will be able to move back and forth to other habitats through their lives, including during spawning time, and may establish populations in additional lakes such as Prairie and Lizzie. Increased connectivity will help the fish community to be more resilient to disturbances, and better able to adapt to changing conditions including climate change. This project will bolster efforts to restore Lake Sturgeon, an iconic and sensitive species to the Pelican River Watershed, and may spur increased angling tourism in the future through enhanced fish populations.

The water level control structure at the outlet of Prairie Lake, MN, is one of two being removed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to allow passage of Lake Sturgeon and other fishes. Photo: Joe Nohner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Pickerel Lake shoreline restoration project

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

$30,000 award

Nearly 49% of the shoreline on Pickerel Lake, SD, has been highly disturbed by residential shoreline property owners. This project will establish buffer zones on shoreline properties by removing turfgrass and replacing it with native plantings at least 30 feet wide with varieties based on the property owner’s preferences. The project will decrease sediment and nutrient inputs to the lake by intercepting runoff and reducing shoreline erosion, which will ultimately reduce frequency and intensity of algal blooms and fish kills, increase water clarity, increase aquatic vegetation growth, and increase wildlife populations.

A map of the shorelines along Pickerel Lake, SD, identifies disturbed areas for restoration and undisturbed areas for protection. Map credit: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Nutrient and sediment loads entering Lake Wawasee: A scientific approach to assess lake restoration strategies

Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation (Indiana)

$15,000 award

Lake Wawasee is the largest glacial lake in Indiana with a surface area of approximately 3,000 acres in the southernmost extent of the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership region and supports heavy recreational use. Land acquisition efforts have resulted in the protection of over 10 miles of shoreline and 51 wetland areas totaling protection of over 900 acres using over $2 million in grants for watershed studies, restoration, and erosion control projects, as well as over $5 million in land acquisition efforts of critical areas in the Lake Wawasee watershed. This project will assess the Lake Wawasee watershed to better-inform watershed and shoreland conservation to restore water quality. Specifically, the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation will install a gage station at each of the five major tributaries entering Lake Wawasee and one gage station on the outlet of the lake with automatic water samplers, data loggers, pressure transducers, and in some cases a rain gauge and air temperature logger. This approach will provide a clear picture of relative nutrient and sediment tributary contributions to the lake and lead to the improvement in water quality and ecological integrity through informed decisions.

Nutrient inputs to Lake Wawasee, IN, will be estimated for five tributaries to the lake and one outlet from the lake to develop a nutrient budget and inform future conservation efforts. Map credit: Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation.

Building capacity for Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership conservation

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

$40,500 award

The MGLP works to protect, rehabilitate, and enhance sustainable fish habitats in glacial lakes of the Midwest for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations. MGLP staffing is dependent upon grants and voluntary participation to accomplish our goals. In order to implement the fish habitat assessment and conservation implementation goals of the partnership, the MGLP needs to address basic database management needs. Specifically, the MGLP will: 1) collect existing data from partners to update MGLP datasets and fill gaps in the MGLP database to support future assessments; 2) update existing GIS data layers for the MGLP; and 3) develop science-based online tools for habitat conservation including lake-specific assessment reports with conservation recommendations for over ~40,000 lakes. These actions will help the MGLP to better assess fish habitat threats and conditions, thereby improving efficiency and efficacy of projects funded by the MGLP.

Working to meet National Fish Habitat Partnership Goals and objectives through the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

$75,000 award

This project will fund the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership’s efforts to assess and conserve fish habitats in inland glacial lakes. This project funds the coordinator, who oversees conservation grants, supports and participates in committees, coordinates partner contributions, manages the budget, creates and implements a new strategic plan, develops the MGLP identity and presence, provides technical guidance, represents the MGLP at various meetings, and communicates with other partnerships.