Chesterton Tribune

$1.4 million in stimulus funding to restore Dunes Creek habitat

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A portion of $167 million approved under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated for marine and coastal habitat restoration has been earmarked for the Dunes Creek Watershed at Indiana Dunes State Park (IDSP).

“This project not only creates badly needed jobs today but, by improving our natural environment, makes Northwest Indiana a nicer place to live tomorrow,” U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, said in a statement released on Tuesday.

IDSP will use the funding to restore Dunes Creek’s nearly six miles of stream spawning habitat for migratory fish, the statement said, as well as daylight 750 feet of culvert to reconnect the Dunes Creek Watershed to Lake Michigan. “The project also improves the flood capability and resiliency along the creek and offers additional flood protection for historic public facilities that serve beachgoers.”

The Dunes Creek Watershed restoration was one of three projects chosen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to fund out of 110 proposals submitted from the Great Lakes region, the statement said.

“NOAA is investing in green jobs for Americans to restore habitat for valuable fish and wildlife and strengthen coastal communities, making them more resilient to storm, sea-level rise, and other effects of climate change,” NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said in a separate statement released on Tuesday. “In addition to the immediate jobs created by the projects, stronger and healthier coastal communities will boost our nation’s long-term economic health.”

“A significant number” of the coastal and Great Lakes restoration projects are in areas with some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation,” the statement said. “The projects will employ Americans with a range of skills, including laborers, nursery workers, design engineers, restoration ecologists, landscape architects, hydrologists, and specialized botanists.”

“In addition to direct jobs, the projects are estimated to create indirect jobs in industries that supply materials and administrative, clerical, and managerial services,” the statement added.

“When complete, the projects will have restored more than 8,900 acres of habitat and removed obsolete and unsafe dams that open more than 700 stream miles where fish migrate and spawn,” the statement said. “The projects also will remove more than 850 metric tons of debris, rebuild oyster and shellfish habitat, and reduce threats to 11,750 acres of coral reefs.”


Posted 7/1/2009