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North Point Bluff Park restoration pace picks up

A TEAM OF WISCORPS VOLUNTEERS prepare to work on the steep incllines of the bluff. – submitted photo

Although slowed by the collective response to COVID-19, the critical restoration work at North Point Bluff Park in the City of Sheboygan continues.

Lakeshore Natural Resources Partnership (LNRP) has been collaborating with the City of Sheboygan, Friends of North Point, Sheboygan River Basin Partnership, and Stantec Consulting Services on the project.

The project design is based on the Restoration Plan for the bluff community. A draft of the Plan was available for public comment in fall 2018 with public presentations offered in March and October of 2019. T

The Plan presented the vision for the park and walked through the step-by-step restoration strategy.

With the City establishing an Adopt-a-Park program, the Friends group acted quickly to adopt North Point Park and commit to the long-term maintenance program.

At the same time, LNRP worked closely with funding agencies to secure grant funds to initiate restoration, which will occur over several years using a phased approach.

In addition to support from the Sheboygan County Stewardship Fund, a grant was received from US Fish and Wildlife Service; a grant is pending from the Fund for Lake Michigan; and LNRP allocated funds from its Stewardship Fund, which is supported by the Fund for Lake Michigan and DNR Great Lakes Protection Fund.

Volunteers from WisCorps (what had been the Wisconsin Conservation Corps) were hard at work during the week of June 22 removing invasive and undesirable shrubs and trees along the bluff. 

The site is being prepared for native planting in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021.

Clearing efforts have exposed several stormwater outflows that are causing localized erosion.

While the lack of vegetation makes this erosion more visible, it has been ongoing for several years and LNRP is working closely with the City of Sheboygan to develop plans for addressing these challenges.

The team of restoration professionals is working diligently to prevent bluff erosion at every step of the project. Cover crop was installed in fall of 2019 and reapplied in spring of 2020. The project manager is monitoring the situation closely and has found no evidence of recent sediment deposition.

“Our LNRP team and our project partners invite you to visit North Point Bluff Park and view the ongoing restoration work,” said Jim Kettler, LNRP Director of Projects.

“Of course, restorative work does take time, so please do bear in mind that it might look a bit rough for a couple of years – however, in the long-term, citizens will see a healthier bluff community that will enhance the lakeshore, provide healthy habitat, and improved overlooks to Lake Michigan.”

Additional work in 2020 will include continued shrub and tree removal, spot treatments targeting non-native species, and installation of native seed, plugs, shrub and tree species.

And dependent on funding, and in collaboration with the City of Sheboygan, stormwater management upgrades will be designed and installed.

“The North Point Bluff Restoration Project represents a significant and necessary lakefront investment, which will lead to ecological and quality of life enhancements for generations to come,” said Tom Mlada, LNRP Executive Director.

“We are excited and proud to be leading forward that sustainable impact for City of Sheboygan residents!”

For more information about the North Point Bluff Restoration Project, please contact Joe Kerlin, City of Sheboygan Superintendent of Parks & Forestry, at 920-459-3440 or joe.kerlin@sheboyganwi.gov.

For more information about Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP), please contact Tom Mlada, LNRP Executive Director, at 262-573-8736 or tom@lnrp.org.

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