The St. Joseph River Watershed has lost approximately 53 percent of its pre-settlement wetlands. This has resulted in degraded water quality, increased flooding and fragmented habitats. There is a great need to restore lost wetlands and protect remaining ones within the watershed. Funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and support from several partners will help the FotSJR advance wetland protection and restoration efforts in watershed by fostering the development and coordination of a bi-state Wetland Partnership and targeting outreach efforts to landowners and municipalities.
The Wetland partnership project will help establish a comprehensive process to identify and evaluate wetland functions. This information will be combined with other criteria to prioritize wetlands so limited resources can be used more efficiently. For more information on the EPA Wetland Program Development Grant Program visit http://epa.gov/wetlands/grantguidelines/.
- Develop and coordinate a bi-state Wetland Partnership to direct wetland protection and restoration efforts in the St. Joseph River Watershed.
- Conduct functional assessment of all current and historic wetlands in the St. Joseph River Watershed.
- Prioritize counties, townships and smaller areas to focus on wetland protection and restoration efforts.
- Develop an educational strategy for municipal officials and landowners including model planning/zoning language, maps and outreach materials for wetland protection and restoration.