$75,000 grant jumpstarts plans to restore dunes

Thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County will begin restoring sections of Amsterdam Dunes, one of the largest remaining stretches of undeveloped shoreline on the western side of Lake Michigan.

The 328-acre property includes rare sand dunes, towering bluffs, ecologically significant wetlands and roughly a half-mile of unspoiled shoreline.

“When the Fund heard about a chance to help improve this huge piece of property we couldn't wait to get more involved," said Vicki Elkin, executive director of the Fund for Lake Michigan.

Sheboygan County officials cheered the $75,000 grant announced this week as the next step in introducing more people to the unique landscape between Kohler- Andrae and Harrington Beach State Parks.

“The grant enables us to jumpstart the restoration process and opens the door for additional funding sources as we move forward,’’ said Aaron Brault, director of planning and conservation for the county.

Sheboygan County recently acquired the property in the town of Holland for $4.2 million.

Plans include restoring 8,000 feet of streams that flow through the land, converting existing farm fields back to wetlands and preserving the entire parcel to help visitors imagine what Lake Michigan looked like before European settlers began traversing the waterway in the 1800s.

"We congratulate Sheboygan County for its incredible vision and for the magnitude of this project,’’ Elkin said. “This meets several of the Fund’s goals: improving Lake Michigan’s water quality; enhancing wildlife habitat; and showcasing the many beaches, wildlife areas and scenic sites along Lake Michigan.”

The Fund for Lake Michigan grant is one of 27 projects receiving $1.9 million in support this summer. A third of the projects are aimed specifically at beaches along Lake Michigan between Kenosha and Door County.

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