Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Ozaukee-Washington Land Trust has received $454,000 in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funding supports the restoration and enhancement of coastal wetlands, forests, shrublands, and grasslands on a 116-acre tract in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, which will provide critically needed stopover habitat for birds that migrate over Lake Michigan.
“The economic recovery investments that the Department of the Interior is making will create jobs by building trails, restoring habitat, upgrading visitors’ centers, and protecting national treasures in communities across America, while leaving a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren,” said Secretary Salazar.
Located on the western shores of Lake Michigan, the property – now called the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve – was recently purchased by the Ozaukee-Washington Land Trust with the intention of restoring wetlands and native plant communities to help protect Lake Michigan water quality and provide habitat and refuge for native and migratory birds. The Lake Michigan Flyway connects Canada and the Arctic Ocean to South America and is a critical migration route for birds such as black–billed cuckoo, eastern meadowlark, solitary sandpiper and golden–winged warbler.
“The Midwest Region has a long tradition of enjoying the fish, wildlife, lakes, rivers and prairies we are so fortunate to have,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley. “The projects we will undertake in the Midwest as part of ARRA will provide jobs, increase the energy efficiency of government buildings, protect and enhance our natural resources, provide greater opportunities for people to enjoy those natural resources, and perhaps most importantly, help current and future generations understand and share our passion for the natural world.”
Wooley joined Shawn Graff, director of the Ozaukee-Washington Land Trust, and the Land Trust’s many partners, neighbors, and volunteers at the site to break ground for the habitat restoration project. When restoration is complete, the site will feature a significant amount of critical migratory stopover habitat within a major migratory corridor. These habitats may be expected to make a significant contribution to the conservation of numerous migratory bird species.
“This migratory preserve will provide a great opportunity for adults and kids alike to learn about and observe a great diversity of migratory birds on their journeys between northern breeding areas and southern overwintering areas, Wooley said. “And, we’re putting dollars into the local economy by creating jobs as we work to restore the Lake Michigan ecosystem.”
Funding for these projects and hundreds more across the nation comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Of the $3 billion appropriated to the Department of the Interior, the Act provides $280 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – which includes $115 million for construction, repair and energy efficiency retrofit projects at Service facilities, and $165 million for habitat restoration, deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects. The Service will benefit from an additional $10 million, which is administered by the Department of Transportation and is not included in the Service’s $280 million appropriation that will be used to rebuild and improve roads on several national wildlife refuges. Projects will immediately create local jobs in the communities where they are located, while stimulating long-term employment and economic opportunities for the American public.
Recovery Act projects address long-standing priority needs identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through its capital planning process. The Service worked through a rigorous merit-based process to identify and prioritize investments meeting the criteria put forth in the Recovery Act: namely, that a project addresses the Department’s highest priority mission needs; generates the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and creates lasting value for the American public.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Department of the Interior is making an investment in conserving America’s timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping middle class families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, employing youth and promoting community service.
For a full list of funded projects nationwide, go to the Department’s Recovery Web Site at http://recovery.doi.gov/. For a list of Service projects, click on the Service’s logo at the bottom of the page. Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department of the Interior’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on the recovery web site, which will include an interactive map that enables the public to track where and how the Department’s recovery dollars are being spent. In addition, the public can submit questions, comments or concerns at recoveryact [at] fws [dot] gov.
Secretary Salazar also has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force. Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General to ensure the Recovery Program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility and transparency that President Obama has set.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov