Bete Grise awarded $450,000 for coastal wetland protection
WASHINGTON, D. C. -- The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District, through the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), learned on Wednesday, Nov.
24, 2004, that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has given
final approval for grants totaling approximately $450,000 for
Bete Grise South coastal wetlands.
These coastal wetlands funds will help protect over 1000 acres of pristine wetland
in an area that includes part of the Lac La Belle sloughs and over a mile of Lake Superior
shoreline at Bete Grise South, located in Keweenaw County along the eastern
shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula, adjacent to the Bete Grise Bay of Lake
This NOAA grant money, designated for Bete Grise wetlands Areas 1 and 2, is part
of a project that will allow the total purchase, from International Paper/Lake Superior Land
Co. (IP/LSLC), of 1,800 acres, including wetlands, Lake Superior shoreline and Lac La Belle sloughs.
| This aerial photo shows the wetlands and beach at
Bete Grise South in relation to the Gay-Lac La Belle Road. Lac La Belle
and some Lac La Belle sloughs are in the background. (Photo by Michael Jordan. Reprinted with permission.)
The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT), Houghton/Keweenaw Conservation
the South Shore Association (SSA), the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality (MDEQ) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) are partners in the project. These NOAA grants, along with the recently awarded
$1 million National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant from the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, complete the funding
needed to preserve for present and future generations the wetlands at Bete Grise South, identified by The Nature Conservancy and Michigan's Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental
Quality as the single most important estuarine marsh remaining in the Upper Great
On Nov. 24, Dave Kanega of the MDEQ Coastal Management Program announced to
Sue Haralson, HKCD administrator, that NOAA had given final approval for the coastal wetlands grants for
two areas of Bete Grise South wetlands.
"HKCD, TNC, KLT and South Shore Association (SSA) all worked in partnership with Dave Kenaga to obtain this
grant," said Gina Nicholas, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District Board
member. "Many, many people contributed to the success of this effort."
In an email message thanking DEQ's Kanega and members of the partnering
organizations, Nicholas noted Kanega toured Areas 1 and 2 on a visit to
Bete Grise in May and September 2004 and recommended the project for funding.
"This is something extra special to be thankful for this year,"
Since a government entity must apply for these grants, the Houghton Keweenaw
Conservation District will hold the deed to Bete Grise wetlands Areas 1 and 2, with a permanent conservation easement held by Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT). Areas 1 and 2 will be permanently preserved in their natural
state but will be open to the public for noninvasive recreation, research and education.
| Gina Nicholas, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation
District (HKCD) Board member, points out wetlands on map of Bete Grise
area during a discussion of grant applications at the July 2004 meeting
of the HKCD in Houghton. Also pictured are other board members, from
left, Bruce Petersen of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS),
Sandra Palmore and Mark Weber. (Photo by Michele Anderson.)
The Nature Conservancy will provide the match for these coastal wetlands
funds. TNC still needs donations to reimburse the expenses incurred in
completing this purchase and managing the property in the future.**
Anyone wishing to contribute to The Nature Conservancy's fund for purchasing Bete Grise South may send donations to:
The Nature Conservancy
Att: Jeff Knoop
125 W. Washington St. - Suite G
Marquette, MI 49855
Please be sure to indicate that the contribution is for Bete Grise South. Contributions are tax-deductible.
* See the Oct. 29, 2004, article, "Bete Grise awarded $1 million for wetland, habitat protection,"
for information on the recently approved $1 million grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) under the 2005 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.
** For background on efforts by The Nature Conservancy and local citizens
to purchase Bete Grise South for protection and public access, see the
Feb. 14, 2003, article, "Conservancy seeks funds for Bete Grise
South" and the May 11, 2003, article by Gina Nicholas, "Help TNC acquire Bete Grise South."
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