Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed September, 2021, Coastal Awareness Month in Wisconsin. This proclamation recognizes how Lakes Michigan and Superior contribute to the quality of life in the state, help stimulate the economy, and provide resources, recreation and scenic beauty.
The proclamation calls special attention to the role of the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program at the Department of Administration, which is dedicated to serving and improving access to the natural and historic resources of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes. Since 1978, the Coastal Management Program has worked with stakeholders in state, local and tribal governments, as well as business and non-profit organizations, to manage and protect Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coastal areas. The Program receives significant funding through the Coastal Zone Management Act, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This includes funds for an annual grant program to support initiatives and research in the Great Lakes region.
Evers’ Proclamation also mentions the newly designated Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary, one of only two such sanctuaries in the Great Lakes. The Sanctuary is located off the coast of Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Ozaukee Counties in Lake Michigan, and contains the sites of 36 known historically significant shipwrecks from the 19th and 20th centuries.
According to a press release from the Department of Administration (Sept 13, 2021) Wisconsin has also recently received almost $250,000 from NOAA for a Project of Special Merit to fund the Collaborative Action for Lake Michigan (CALM) project. This project will help Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan communities develop, revise and adopt policies to improve coastal hazard resilience. The project will “expand coordination efforts among agencies, organizations, and local governments and leverage opportunities to share lessons learned and promote resources, tools, and data within Wisconsin’s 11 Lake Michigan coastal counties.”
Two earlier NOAA Project of Special Merit projects were responsible for launching the Wisconsin Coastal-Management Data Infrastructure (WICDI) project, which focuses on the role of culverts (structures that allow water to flow under roads and other barriers) in mitigating flood hazards. The WICDI project seeks to provide the resources needed by coastal managers to quickly respond to flood damage and identify vulnerable culverts before catastrophe.
These NOAA Projects of Special Merit are administered and managed by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. Information on the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program’s goals and strategy can be found in its 2021-25 Needs Assessment and Strategy.