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eMacomb - Featured Article, Summer 2016

Blue Economy Initiative successes highlighted at State of the Lake

Macomb County’s annual Celebrate the Lake weekend kicked off June 9 with a State of the Lake press conference at MacRay Harbor held by Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel in partnership with the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development (MCPED), Selfridge Air National Guard Base, the Michigan Boating Industries Association and the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative. 

At the event, Hackel lauded the accomplishments of Macomb County’s Blue Economy Initiative. First announced in 2011, the purpose of the initiative is to create greater awareness about Lake St. Clair and its tributaries, protect and preserve natural assets and stimulate economic investment. The initiative is coordinated by MCPED, and the achievements are a testament to the department’s ability to convene collaborative partnerships with other county departments, agencies, communities and the private sector to accomplish objectives.

Recent accomplishments associated with the Blue Economy Initiative were reviewed:

  • Funded by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) will conduct a creel census on Lake St. Clair this summer to evaluate the health of the fishery and measure the environmental and economic impact of fishing.
  • More than $4 million in grants were awarded from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Clinton River Spillway Habitat Restoration project to improve fish spawning habitat and reduce phosphorus and sediment.
  • The EPA awarded $2.3 million to the Partridge Creek Commons Habitat Restoration project to restore the Gloede Drain and diversify habitat on a former golf course. 
  • Green Macomb, an urban forestry project funded by the U.S. Forestry Service through the Michigan DNR and ITC Holdings, will implement a regional policy to target tree canopy increases in the county’s most mature neighborhoods. 
  • The Macomb/St. Clair Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is being developed to eliminate phragmite colonies in the townships of Washington, Shelby, Chesterfield and Harrison.  
  • New Baltimore will receive a Michigan Trust Fund grant of $2.85 million to purchase and redevelop Schmid Marina.
  • Chesterfield Township will develop the Wayne and Joan Webber Paddle Park to intersect the countywide network of trails and coastal paddling routes. 
  • The Spillway Boat Launch near Crocker Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue on Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township will be enhanced and offer contiguous greenway to downtown Mount Clemens.
  • The Michigan Sea Grant’s Small Harbors program is helping New Baltimore create a new vision for its walkable downtown resulting in new investment and interest.
  • Located near the newer paddle park in Utica on the Clinton River, the recently opened Jimmy John’s Field is already infusing new activity into the city’s historic downtown, bolstering greater paddling activity in the Clinton River. 
  • The Nautical Mile in St. Clair Shores is shoring up placemaking activities combined with environmental stewardship to boost this iconic shopping and entertainment district.
  • MCPED will partner with the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative to launch the Southeast Michigan Bootlegger Festival in October.
  • Selfridge Air National Guard Base recently invested $2.6 million to build a traffic turnaround and $32.6 million for a new jet fuel storage and delivery system. The base will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year with an air show featuring the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Related links:

Blue Economy Industry Profile

06/29/16 - Enhancements announced during State of the Lake - C&G News