MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board on Wednesday accepted a $51,000 donation from the Natural Resources Foundation to conduct a comprehensive coastal assessment of the factors contributing to shoreline erosion and reduced water quality along a 4.2 mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline in Kenosha County.
The research area covers the city of Kenosha's Southport Park Beach and includes properties owned by the city of Kenosha Wastewater Plant, WE Energies and village of Pleasant Prairie as well as the Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural area, which last year was designated as a wetland of international importance. Steve Galarneau, director of DNR's Office of Great Lakes, said among other issues, the assessment will help identify the causal factors that affect shoreline erosion, water quality, and inter-related issues along this section of shoreline.
The project aims to develop a framework that sets priorities for implementing proposed improvements and, where possible, incorporates natural erosion protection. DNR will conduct the work in partnership with UW-Madison's College of Engineering. Funding for the project originated through a competitive grant awarded to the Natural Resources Foundation by the Fund for Lake Michigan.
"The support from partners including the Fund for Lake Michigan and the Natural Resources Foundation is absolutely essential to projects like this," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "We anticipate results from this groundbreaking work will inform best practices for managing erosion in a number of locations along the Lake Michigan shoreline. We're grateful for the continued support for this important work."
Galarneau said the coastal assessment will result in a consensus plan and implementation strategy for water quality improvement and shoreline restoration along this stretch of shoreline. The benefits are expected to include improved public beach water quality and public access, understanding of the coast's sediment volume, restored natural shoreline processes, recommended design of coastal structures and beaches and prevention of future problems. The state-of-the art methodologies employed in the project could be applied to additional Great Lakes coastal areas.