Enhancements announced during State of the Lake

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published June 29, 2016

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MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb County’s annual Celebrate the Lake weekend kicked off on June 9 with a State of the Lake press conference at MacRay Harbor held by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, as well as officials from the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, the Michigan Boating Industries Association and the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative.

Hackel spoke briefly about the accomplishments of Macomb County’s Blue Economy initiative. First announced in 2011, the purpose of the initiative is to create greater awareness about Lake St. Clair and its tributaries, protect and preserve natural assets, as well as stimulate economic investment.

The initiative is coordinated by Planning and Economic Development. He said the achievements are a testament to the department’s ability to establish collaborative partnerships with other county departments, agencies, communities and the private sector to accomplish objectives.

Recent accomplishments associated with the Blue Economy initiative include:

• Funded by the United States Geological Survey, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will conduct a creel census on Lake St. Clair this summer to evaluate the health of the fishery and measure the environmental and economic impact of fishing.

• More than $4 million in grants were awarded from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to the Clinton River Spillway Habitat Restoration project to improve fish spawning habitat and reduce phosphorus and sediment.

• The EPA awarded $2.3 million to the Partridge Creek Commons Habitat Restoration project to restore the Gloede Drain and diversify habitat on a former golf course.

• Green Macomb, an urban forestry project funded by the U.S. Forestry Service through the Michigan DNR and ITC Holdings, will implement a regional policy to target tree canopy increases in the county’s most mature neighborhoods.

• The Macomb/St. Clair Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is being developed to eliminate phragmite colonies in the townships of Washington, Shelby, Chesterfield and Harrison.

• New Baltimore will receive a Michigan Trust Fund grant of $2.85 million to purchase and redevelop Schmid Marina.

• Chesterfield Township will develop the Wayne and Joan Webber Paddle Park to intersect the countywide network of trails and coastal paddling routes.

• The spillway boat launch near Crocker Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, on Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township, will be enhanced and offer a contiguous greenway to downtown Mount Clemens.

• The Michigan Sea Grant’s Small Harbors program is helping New Baltimore create a new vision for its walkable downtown resulting in new investment and interest.

• Located near the newer paddle park in Utica on the Clinton River, the recently opened Jimmy John’s Field is already infusing new activity into the city’s historic downtown, bolstering greater paddling activity on the Clinton River.

• The Nautical Mile in St. Clair Shores is shoring up placemaking activities combined with environmental stewardship to boost the shopping and entertainment district.

• MCPED will partner with the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative to launch the Southeast Michigan Bootlegger Festival in October.

• Selfridge Air National Guard Base recently invested $2.6 million to build a traffic turnaround, and $32.6 million for a new jet fuel storage and delivery system. The base will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017 with an air show featuring the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds.

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