The Fund for Lake Michigan this week awarded nearly $1.4 million in private grants aimed at improving beaches, reducing polluted runoff and restoring habitat in Wisconsin.

The fund was established in 2011 by We Energies, Madison Gas & Electric and WPPI Energy to safeguard the lake and improve water quality in the region. This round of grants went to 26 different projects throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

A majority of the projects directly impact the Lake Michigan coastline and near shore areas. While other address needs in area watersheds that feed into the lake.

“With water problems increasingly in the news, the fund is delivering on its promise to help protect water resources right here in Wisconsin,” says Vicki Elkin, Fund for Lake Michigan executive director.

The largest grant in this round is $190,000 to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences to conduct an extensive aquatic habitat survey of the city’s harbor. The university will be working with the state Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of Engineers, Harbor District, Inc. and other stakeholders to advance harbor rehabilitation.

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