Leelanau News and Events

Leelanau Conservancy Launches West Bay Coastal Protection Project, Working With Waterfront Owners To Preserve What’s Now Natural Land

June 8, 2022

The Leelanau Conservancy announced yesterday that the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has awarded $362,500 to the West Grand Traverse Bay Coastal Protection Project to implement priority land protection tasks identified in the Coastal Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Plan.

Specifically, this project is focused on establishing voluntary, permanent conservation easements in the Northport and Weaver Creek subwatersheds to protect water quality and aquatic habitat.

The funding will be utilized to establish at least two permanent conservation easements that will protect a significant amount of riparian habitat and stream frontage. Shorelines, stream banks and their associated wetlands are all identified as Priority Protection Areas in the updated Coastal Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Plan.

Conservancy staff will work with interested landowners to determine if their property qualify for perpetual conservation easement funding and submit applications for highest conservation opportunities with the intent to defend against high priority pollutants/stressors of the watershed.

Claire Wood, Leelanau Conservancy communications director, shares that by preventing residential development of approximately 160 acres of natural land, these new conservation easements will prevent 11 tons of sediment, 476 pounds of nitrogen and 44 pounds of phosphorus from loading into the watershed’s groundwater, wetlands, streams, and ultimately Grand Traverse Bay, each year. Watershed plan implementation projects such as this are funded through the Clean Michigan Initiative Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Fund and Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act.

Photo courtesy Leelanau Conservancy

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