Manoomin, or wild rice, is of great importance to Anishinaabe communities in the Great Lakes region, including the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of the Chippewa Indians. Current and future wetland restoration efforts in the St. Marys River will include the restoration of the manoomin beds. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Fegan)
The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians’ Wildlife Program uses georeferenced images collected by small unmanned aircraft systems such as drones to monitor the effects of invasive species management actions. Understanding the effectiveness of treating invasive species can improve management results over time. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Fegan)
American Bittern, a focal species in covert swamp bird assessments of the Sault tribe of the Chippewa Indians, is seen among wetland vegetation. Through a collaborative planning process, the Sault Tribe will work with project partners to identify conservation and restoration priorities that benefit ecological communities along the St. Marys River, including wildlife. (Photo courtesy of Brad Silet)
MARQUETTE – The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians will develop a comprehensive interagency resilience plan that prioritizes coastal wetlands for the protection and restoration of the St. Marys River, the tribe said.
The shores and coastal wetlands of the St. Marys River are subject to annual, intra-annual and hour-to-hour fluctuations in water level due to lake level changes, storms and frequent wakes created by freighters, all of which have a direct impact on wetlands. communities and contribute to shoreline erosion, said the Sault tribe.
The project will harmonize and improve the strategic management of coastal wetlands across jurisdictional boundaries.
The grant was awarded through the National Coastal Resilience Fund, which provides grants that increase and strengthen natural infrastructure to protect coastal communities while improving fish and wildlife habitats, the tribe said. The NCRF is a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Shell Oil Company, TransRe, EPA, AT&T and Occidental, with additional financial support from the US Department of Defense.
“The Saint Marys River is the outlet of the largest freshwater lake in the world and the center of the indigenous Anishnaabe world”, Eric Clark, senior wildlife biologist for the Sault Tribe Wildlife Program, said in a press release. âThe river has some of the best examples of intact freshwater coastal marsh ecosystems in the entire Great Lakes basin and it is impossible to overstate their importance to the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians and our regional ass
ture and economy.
Clark noted that these ecosystems are not without stressors, with anthropogenic or human impacts on the river threatening the resilience of these coastal marshes.
âThe Sault Ste. Marie Tribe and our partner agencies recognize this and have prioritized collaborative approaches to conservation and restoration in the St. Marys River â, Clark said. “This grant from the NFWF and NOAA will help us develop a rigorous adaptive framework and collaborative plan to strategically advance our work in this important river.”
The $ 345,000 project will also advance relationship building and collaboration among natural resource managers, stakeholders and community members through participation in project workshops.
“The Great Lakes are more than an economic engine and an ecological treasure – they are part of our DNA as Michiganders”, US Senator Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, said in a press release. âThis is why I applaud all the incredible work that the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has done to protect Michigan’s ecosystems, including the Great Lakes, as well as to protect vital wildlife and habitats across the state.
Peters said the grants will build on the efforts of the Sault Tribe and help protect the Great Lakes for future generations.