Marquette, Michigan: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has awarded a $2.5 million coastal resiliency grant to the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) to assist the City of Marquette in restoring almost a mile of severely eroding Lake Superior shoreline within the city limits. The Lake Superior Coastal Resiliency Project includes approximately 4,200 feet of shoreline adjacent to Lakeshore Boulevard and will create approximately 28 acres of public green space. Project activities will control coastal erosion and restore or enhance numerous natural features including but not limited to coastal floodplain, sand beach, dune and swale, coastal wetlands and a variety of terrestrial wildlife and bird habitats. During the three year project implementation timeline the City of Marquette will also coordinate the reconstruction of Lakeshore Boulevard; moving the road approximately 300 feet inland. The completed project will also include an extensive hiking-biking trail system with parking and ADA public access. The project also includes innovative design features developed by the City of Marquette Engineering Department including green infrastructure practices to insure cleaner stormwater runoff from the roadway and parking areas.
Due to more frequent and more intense storm events and the risk to public safety the City of Marquette has been forced to close a large portion of Lakeshore Boulevard for extended periods of time. Recent extreme weather has included record-setting rain events, recurring road flooding, wave and storm surge impacts and threats to public safety. During a storm in October of 2017 buoys documented record 28-foot waves offshore from Marquette. During that same storm Lakeshore Boulevard sustained extensive damage and two people drowned attempting to view the waves at nearby Presque Isle Park.
It should be noted that of the 35 grants awarded nationally only two were on the Great Lakes; the other 33 projects were on the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf coasts. The Marquette grant of $2.5 million is the second-largest award nationally (Newtok, Alaska received $2.7 million).
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) established the National Coastal Resilience Fund with the goal of restoring and enhancing natural resource infrastructure to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities to storms, floods and other detrimental natural events. NFWF and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced an inaugural round of funding for the National Coastal Resilience Fund and awarded thirty-five new grants totaling $28.93 million. Investments through this national program will advance regionally identified priorities to enhance fish and wildlife habitats and improve the resilience of coastal communities. Building on significant coordination and planning that has already been done in many of the nation’s coastal communities and recognizing the need for action, the fund focuses on advancing implementation of projects that will have greatest benefit to both human community resilience and fish and wildlife benefit.