Birders flock to Lansing for urgent plea: Help before it’s too late | Bridge Michigan

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From across the state, Spencer High with the the Grand Rapids Audubon Club was thinking about legislators of both parties and the points he wants to emphasize about wetlands.

“They have incredibly important roles within our pollination process, and without the specific plants to feed, the specific insects to feed the specific birds, you don’t have balance.”

And while he personally thinks birds are really cool, he says those insects, and the rest of the ecosystem, also hang in the balance.

Steve Chadwick is with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He outlined several of the wetland projects underway thanks to more than 12 million dollars in funding, much of it from American Rescue Plan Act. That might sound like a lot of money, but restoring wetlands is really expensive.

“A $12 million dollar investment is a great place to start, but we’ve got a long ways to go.”

Of that, Ducks Unlimited administered $4 million for ten projects to reduce agricultural nutrient runoff into Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay.

More ARPA money went to land acquisitions to add to the Crow Island State Game Area, a large wetland which straddles Bay and Saginaw counties.

Another chunk went to the Lenawee County Nutrient Reduction Pilot Project. The plan there is to restore a wetland in an agricultural drain system to help filter out phosphorus and nitrogen before it gets into Lake Erie. So far, 300 acres have been purchased for that project.

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