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OGL AOC Note: Partners Celebrate Completion of Little Rapids Restoration Project

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*Partners celebrate completion of the Little Rapids Restoration Project*

“St. Marys River restoration expected to provide environmental, economic gains”””

Little Rapids Bridge – Credit John Riley The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes [ http://www.michigan.gov/deqogl ], Great Lakes Commission, and partners yesterday celebrated the completion of the Little Rapids Restoration Project in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Water flow was returned to the historic Little Rapids for the first time in more than 50 years. A new bridge to Sugar Island in the St. Marys River was built to replace an obstructing causeway.

The work was accomplished by strong partnerships between federal, state, and local partners and funded throughthe Great Lakes Restoration Initiative [ http://www.glri.us/ ]. A video about the project was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a project partner.

Watch the Video – Little Rapids Project [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5jRN403mwo ]
The success of this project shows how important continued support for the bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is, said U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, who serves on the House Great Lakes Task Force. The restoration of the Little Rapids will not only benefit fish and wildlife in the St. Marys River, it will also help revitalize tourism and sport fishing opportunities in Sault Ste. Marie and across the U.P.

Little Rapids Anglers – Credit John RileyPlanning for the restoration project began in the early 1990s when the Soo Area Sportsmens Club saw an opportunity to boost the local economy by improving sportfish habitat in the Little Rapids area. In 2011, the Chippewa County Road Commission, Lake Superior State University, and the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission were awarded funding. Bridge construction started in spring 2016 and was done in November 2016. Environmental monitoring will continue in 2017.

Because of this work, we are one step closer to removal of the St. Marys River from the list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern, said Jon W. Allan, director of Michigans Office of the Great Lakes and chair of the Great Lakes Commission. The lakes are critical to our future in both Michigan and the region.

The St. Marys River was designated as a federal Area of Concern in 1987 after decades of pollution and habitat degradation. Learn about progress to restore the St. Marys River by visiting www.michigan.gov/aocprogram [ http://www.michigan.gov/aocprogram ] or contacting AOC Coordinator John Riley at rileyj2@michigan.gov.

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Environmental assessment information: Great Lakes Notes for Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

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