Northland College’s Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation has been awarded $500,000 of new funding to support the third phase of its Sediment Reduction Project on North Fish Creek—the largest source of sediment flowing into Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay.
A grant of nearly $300,000 was recently awarded from the Great Lakes Commission’s Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program. This is in addition to $200,000 of new funding received from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program this summer.
Focusing on freshwater science, water issues, and conservation, the Burke Center has successfully coordinated three bluff stabilization projects along North Fish Creek since 2018 under the umbrella of its Phase 1 and 2 projects. The upcoming Phase 3 project builds upon these achievements, forming a crucial part of a long-term, multi-partner effort to improve fish habitat and mitigate excessive sedimentation in North Fish Creek, which is currently the largest source of sediment flowing into Chequamegon Bay.
“Projects like these not only enhance water quality and fish habitat, but also safeguard the pristine beauty of Chequamegon Bay by preventing excess sediment from entering its waters,” said Matt Hudson, the Burke Center’s associate director—Great Lakes. “Moreover, they help build resilience into our natural systems, acting as a buffer against the challenges posed by our changing climate.”
Among the proposed restoration sites for Phase 3, two areas are particularly significant, as they represent some of the largest eroding bluffs and sediment contributors along Fish Creek. Both sites were severely damaged during the 2018 Father’s Day storm, which caused widespread damage throughout northwestern Wisconsin. Restoration efforts will protect approximately 2,200 feet of stream channel on state-owned public lands. These targeted projects are estimated to save 4,300 tons of sediment from eroding into the stream on an annual basis.
Phase 3 of the North Fish Creek Sediment Reduction Project is expected to start in October 2023.