Press Release: DOA Secretary Blumenfeld Marks Coastal Awareness Month with Awards for Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Projects

Wisconsin Department of Administration Logo



Tony Evers, Governor

Kathy Blumenfeld, Secretary

September 14, 2023

DOA Secretary Blumenfeld Marks Coastal Awareness Month with Awards for Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Projects

Wisconsin Coastal Management Program Grant Application Period Remains Open

Whitefish Bay, Wis. – Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld today presented a total of $145,000 in coastal grant awards to the Village of Whitefish Bay, nonprofit Reflo, and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission in celebration of Coastal Awareness Month in September. The awards were part of an overall $1.4 million investment previously announced by Governor Tony Evers through the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP).

Blumenfeld was joined by Whitefish Bay Village President Kevin Buckley; Reflo Executive Director Justin Hegarty; Tom Slawski, chief biologist for the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission; and other stakeholders during a visit to Klode Park in Whitefish Bay and discussion of ongoing coastal projects.

“At the heart of the Coastal Management Program is a promise to safeguard our Great Lakes shoreline for present and future generations,” Blumenfeld said. “These grants help fulfill that promise by providing crucial support to communities and stakeholders who seek to restore, protect, and enhance these coastal resources.”

Justin Hegarty of Reflo, Tom Slawski of the SE Wis. Regional Planning Commission, Secretary Blumenfeld, & Whitefish Bay Board President Kevin Buckley

From left, Reflo Executive Director Justin Hegarty, Tom Slawski, chief biologist for the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, DOA Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, and Whitefish Bay Village President Kevin Buckley gather at Klode Park in Whitefish Bay, Wis.

The Village of Whitefish Bay was presented with a $45,000 grant to complete a multi-phase initiative to improve ecological, educational, and recreational opportunities, and support stormwater runoff management at Klode Park.

“The Village of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, has been very active over the past several years addressing shoreline erosion issues related to recent high Lake Michigan water levels, but just as important has been to need to address adjacent soil erosion and provide pollutant reduction in the overland flow of stormwater runoff into the lake in Whitefish Bay’s Klode Park bluff and beach area,” said Village President Kevin Buckley. “Addressing this final piece of the puzzle is critical to facilitate the continued high use of this very popular Milwaukee north shore lakefront destination. The Wisconsin Costal Management Program, along with the Fund For Lake Michigan, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and the Village of Whitefish Bay have partnered on this Klode Park Stormwater Improvement Project to fund these needed erosion control and pollutant reduction improvements. The Village Board greatly appreciates each agency’s commitment and support and looks forward to future joint projects to make our lands and waters cleaner and safer for all.”

Reflo received $30,000 to develop a series of educational feature articles to illuminate environmental topics of public interest in and around the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern. In addition to the articles, Reflo also plans to produce short videos, graphic novel stories, and interactive maps.

“In partnership with the online publication Urban Milwaukee and thanks to the generous support of the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, we are excited to develop a suite of water-related environmental journalism in the style of National Geographic,” said Michael Timm, Milwaukee Water Stories program manager for the nonprofit Reflo, who will research and write the series of feature stories. “The contextual storytelling will be accompanied by compelling illustrations that promise to endure as engaging resources that support Great Lakes education for the next generation of Lake Michigan's stewards. We hope this attention to local water stories helps to elevate the profile of impactful water projects in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin.”

The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission received two grants totaling $70,000. One grant will be used to furnish technical assistance, regional analysis, and public outreach services. The other will enable the Commission to update the Regional Natural Areas and Critical Species Habitat Protection and Management Plan for Southeastern Wisconsin.

“The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission is pleased to be a Coastal Management Grant recipient,” said Tom Slawski, chief biologist of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. “For over 40 years, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program has helped the Commission partner with communities to identify, define, and resolve a wide range of coastal challenges. The Coastal Management Grant is catalyzing greater coordination, understanding, and protection of vital resources in Southeastern Wisconsin.”

Governor Evers has declared September to be Coastal Awareness Month in Wisconsin in recognition of the profound impact the Great Lakes have on the state. Coastal Grant applications for the 2024-25 season are currently open, with approximately $1.6 million in grant funding available. Proposals are sought to address needs and priorities for public access, historic preservation, Great Lakes education, community development, wetland protection, habitat restoration, or pollution control. Applications are due November 3, 2023, with additional information available on the WCMP website.

Since 1978, the WCMP has balanced natural resource protection and sustainable economic development along Wisconsin's Great Lakes coasts. The program awards federal funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management in the U.S. Department of Commerce to local governments and other entities for innovative coastal initiatives.

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