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Habitat Restoration in Michigan: A Big Bang for the Buck


In Muskegon, Michigan we are restoring wetlands and stabilizing shorelines at 10 separate locations. The effort is helping Muskegon Lake, the Muskegon River and Lake Michigan recover from impairments to wetlands and the loss of fish and wildlife.

Money spent on restoration is also helping to stimulate the local economy: the project produced a 6-to-1 return on the investment.

The ecological benefits of this project are clear. Our partners will remove more than 200,000 tons of sawmill waste and demolition material from shallow water and wetlands. They will replace 10,000 feet of hardened shoreline with native vegetation and restore nearly 24 acres of wetland. These changes will help fish and other wildlife return to their native habitat.

The economic benefits are clear as well. We invested $10 million in the project with our partner, the Great Lakes Commission.

A study undertaken by the Commission suggests that the project will generate:

  • a $12 million increase in property values,
  • $600,000 in new tax revenues annually
  • more than $1 million a year in new recreational spending in Muskegon
  • 65,000 additional visitors annually
  • an additional 55 cents in the local economy for every federal dollar spent

All told, for a $10 million investment, the project will create $66 million in economic benefits. The project will also create jobs in an area with an unemployment rate higher than 12 percent, while creating healthier habitat and more fish.

Posted April 30, 2012



Ruddiman Shoreline After
Part of the Muskegon Lake shoreline where debris is being removed and stabilized with native vegetation to restore coastal habitat.