For the second year, the Friends of Grant Park will participate in the Adopt-a-Beach event sponsored by the Alliance for the Great Lakes. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Sept. 21st, from 9 a.m. til noon at Grant Park Beach. Wear a hat and bring your own sunblock, if desired. We’ll provide plastic bags, plastic gloves, bug spray and lemonade.
Last year’s event was successful and attended by community members and several Girl Scout troops. The trash is sorted and tallied to gain an assessment of the nature of the trash collected. That information is shared with the Alliance, which pools that information with other Adopt-a-Beach clean-ups up and down the coast of Lake Michigan. Grant Park beach is an impaired waters beach as listed by the EPA and next to Southshore is one of the most chronically impaired beaches in the lake. This activity helps mitigate potential pollution sources in the future. Come join us!
On December 7th, 2012, the Friends of Grant Park were awarded a matching $5,000 mini grant from Sweet Water – the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc. The aim of the grant program is to improve water quality in the Milwaukee and Racine area watersheds area by supporting local, grassroots efforts that employ green infrastructure practices and conservation-related activities that will improve water quality, restore/reserve habitat or educate people about these issues and associated stewardship actions.
Our desire was to stabilize slopes in the “Seven Bridges” ravine. These slopes were compromised over the last few summers by the increased foot traffic of many who love and continued to use the park after a heavy storm washed out one of the critical beach access bridges. The mini grant allowed us to re-establish native ground, shrub and tree vegetative cover on these slopes with appropriate coir and biodegradable erosion fabric. Natural “wattle” fencing was included to discourage further foot traffic.
Habitat preservation will serve migratory species within this riparian corridor. Stabilizing the upper and intermediate slopes with over and understory plants means that species dependent upon clean water, and healthy insect and invertebrate reproduction will continue to flourish in the long-shaded and cool environs of the ravine.
We were fortunate to have over 2 dozen volunteers before and on June 8th, who helped with the actual installation. We were blessed with no mosquitos and fabulously cool weather for the daunting task of hauling nearly 20 yards of weed-free compost down the slope. We had help from landscape professionals Mike Marek and crew, who showed us how to install erosion blankets and slope interruptors in steeply eroded areas. To see pictures of our project, visit the photo gallery and click on “slope restoration”.