Lake Michigan Shoreline Restoration
Kewaunee, WI

Grantee: Glacierland Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D)
Basin Program Funds: $29,500
Non-federal Funds: $37,000
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 07/2005
Status: complete

Problem Statement
A 64,000-acre area in Manitowoc and Kewaunee counties which runs parallel to Lake Michigan contains areas of current and former wetlands. The removal or modification of the wetland acreage in this area has resulted in an increase in the amount of sediment entering directly into Lake Michigan and its tributaries.

Within the 64,000 acres, there are 26,000 acres in the Kewaunee/Poygan/Manwau soil complex of which roughly 9,000 acres is drained wetlands. This area was burned in the late 1800ís, and a substantial portion of the wetlands within this area were drained for agricultural use. The negating of this wetland acreage as a filter has caused an increased amount of sediment to enter directly into Lake Michigan.

Within this area, there are currently 640 acres in the Wetland Reserve Program, and some acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). This accounts for only 7% of this drained wetland area being permanently reserved. There are no statistics on how much CRP land is in this drained wetland area, but there is a total of 3,000 acres of CRP land in the five townships in this vicinity. The CRP acreage however, is only temporarily reserved.

There are several organizations and agencies that have been working to address this situation. Part of the problem has been a lack of coordination of efforts and the lack of an overall public information and education effort. In February of last year, several of these agencies and groups were brought together at a brainstorming session by Glacierland Resource Conservation & Development, Inc. This group concluded that funding to reserve and restore wetland acreage was readily available through numerous sources and programs. They also concluded that public acceptance and understanding of wetland restoration was the primary issue that needs to be addressed.

This project seeks to control soil erosion in the Lake Michigan area by converting marginal agricultural land back to wetlands and by restricting residential and business development in this area through deed restrictions. Sedimentation will be controlled by re-establishing a 25-mile corridor of wetland grassland mix parallel to the Lake Michigan Shoreline that will serve as a sedimentation filter for this entire area. The project goals are: to develop a public information program that will explain the need for wetland restoration in this area; to identify all landowners and acreage in this area and prioritize the most critical properties; and to develop a strategic plan to accomplish long-term wetland restoration in this area. Specific activities include:

  • Conducting two Wetland Restoration Field Days.
  • Hiring a project coordinator.
  • Developing a Wetland Restoration Brochure.
  • Developing "Landowner Wetlands Survey Form".
  • Developing a database of all properties within the project area.
  • On the ground implantation of wetland restoration - Ongoing.
  • Increase the area of potential wetlands under permanent protection to 21% of the total area, through either purchase of land, or easements.
  • Results
    Three brochures (see publication documents) were created from this project: Land Restoration & Enhancement, Farm Drainage and Conservation Opportunities, and Grass Waterway. On September 9-10, 2004, Kewaunee County LWCD employees went door-to-door talking to landowners about the importance of wetland restorations, grassed waterways, soil erosion, and the programs available to help with design and cost-sharing. Most individuals indicated they knew where to get information and did not want to be bothered at home. Over half of the landowners were not home. The door-to-door contacts were curtailed after two days.

    A PowerPoint presentation was developed to be used as a tool to approach various governmental units, farmers, and landowners who are interested in fixing erosion problems, restoring wetlands, or implementing buffers and grassed waterways or for those individuals interested in the grant progress. The PowerPoint was distributed to the committee (as a cd) for an information/educational tool for the future. The LWCD purchased educational supplies in June 2005 including soil and tile probes, Munsell soil color books, wetland indicator books, and several lessons for grade-school education and correlating supplies. These supplies will be used in demonstrations, seminars, and school district education programs. A report was prepared entitled "The Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Grant Analysis and Recommendations for Long Range Projects in Kewaunee & Manitowoc Counties" (see publications). The long-range plan recommends strategies and a suggested course of action to meat long-term goals.

    Contact: Mr. Paul Fredrich, (920) 388-2792


    Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner