Executive Mark A. Hackel Touts Progress of Macomb County Land andWater Resource Programs at Annual State of Lake St. Clair Address

Macomb County community leaders today gathered Wednesday, June 6, to deliver the annual State of Lake St. Clair Address and to announce accomplishments and plans for the area’s land and water resource programs. The address, which was delivered along Lake St. Clair at MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township, began with remarks from County Executive Mark A. Hackel. He shared several highlights from the Land and Water Resources Division, including:

Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership

  • Approximately 1,000 trees have been planted through the Urban Forest Partnership over the past two years.
  • Green Macomb partnered with the Blue Water Conservation District for another successful Arbor Day tree and plant sale (15,000 plants sold in Macomb County in 2018) as well as education and outreach to local schools (over 2,000 tree seedlings were handed out to 4th and 5th graders this spring at the Lake St. Clair Water Festival).
  • Green Macomb developed additional education and outreach materials to encourage tree planting, which are available at green.macombgov.org.

Transformation of the Sterling Relief Drain into a Greenway

  • The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development is partnering with the Macomb County Public Works Office to transform the Sterling Relief Drain corridor in order to reduce flooding, improve water quality and to create a natural habitat green space in this highly urbanized watershed. The county is pursuing over $2 million in federal funding to implement the first two miles of this project, which would be one of the largest green infrastructure projects of its kind in the region.

Lake St. Clair Metropark Closings

  • A steering committee has been developed to reduce beach closings at Lake St. Clair Metropark.  Federal, state, regional and education agencies are now collaborating to develop a beach redevelopment strategy that would allow for a more natural, healthy setting that still incorporates recreational opportunities. 
  • The committee includes the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, several Macomb County agencies (Planning, Public Health and Public Works), The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, the U.S. EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Clinton River Watershed Council, Harrison Township and HEART Freshwater Lab.

Terrain 360 Project

  • A partnership has been formed with a group called Terrain 360 to create a 360 degree interactive map of local trails and waterways that will promote recreational opportunities in the county.
  • Terrain 360 has mapped a variety of lakes, rivers and trails around the U.S. Both locals and tourists love the high resolution virtual tours because it allows them to plan their site visit in advance with some knowledge and experience of the area.

Shoreline Restoration

  • Macomb County is working with the Great Lakes Commission, the Office of the Great Lakes and local governments to restore up to three-quarters of a mile of Lake St. Clair shoreline in the coming years. The goal is to create a healthier ecosystem along the coast.

Elimination of Invasive Species

  • Macomb County is working with the Six Rivers Land Conservancy on reducing invasive species such as phragmite and Japanese knotweed, among others. Several Macomb County communities (including Washington Township, Shelby Township, Harrison Township, Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, Ray Township and the city of New Baltimore) have committed to working with the Lake St. Clair Cluster to address the invasive issues that snarl waterways and destroy the ecosystem. 

Recreation

  • As part of the overall goal to increase visibility of Lake St. Clair and its recreational assets, Macomb County has successfully attracted several world class fishing events to the area. The next event, hosted by FLW, will take place June 27-July 1 at Lake St. Clair Metropark and will offer a cash prize of $250,000 to the winning angler. More information can be found here.
  • The 7th annual Sprint and Splash Festival of Races will be held Saturday, June 16 at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township. Aside from creating a signature event that draws visitors to the community, the event also raises funds for two organizations. This year, proceeds will be shared with the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Foundation and the Clinton River Watershed Council.
     

Additional remarks were delivered by St. Clair County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Bohm, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, SEMCOG Deputy Director Amy Mangus and Michigan Boating Industries Association Executive Director Nicki Polan. At the conclusion of the event, the U.S. Coast Guard performed a live helicopter rescue exercise.

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