DETROIT, Mich. (WOOD) — Lynette Dowler smiled, nodded and agreed — she may have the best job in the state of Michigan. It’s days like today, which happen often, that has her reminded of that. As president of the DTE Foundation today she helped announce a $1 million grant to The Nature Conservancy that will help pay for a number of major projects over the next few years from shoreline to shoreline across the state.

“We care about our community and we show it through really partnering with these amazing organizations to make a difference,” Dowler said, noting they have partnered with TNC since 2011. “They are a national, credible, data-driven firm that really helps take care of our air, land and water and taking care of our air, land and water is what DTE is focused on.”

Part of the grant will be used by the TNC to start experimental work on restoring whitefish to the rivers that flow into Lakes Michigan and Huron. The group will work with Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and the Michigan Department of Natural Reources to survey the tributaries flowing to the lakes and test egg rearing methods at tribal hatcheries for future stocking options. The goal is for an experimental stocking in 2023 to begin storing the number of whitefish in rivers like the Muskegon, Jordan Carp or Bear.

“The support we have received from the DTE Energy Foundation has been instrumental in helping us address long-standing environmental challenges in Michigan,” said Helen Taylor, state director in Michigan for The Nature Conservancy. “The sheer scope of their financial commitment will allow us to protect and enhance natural attributes in our cities, rivers and lakes, and it will provide educational opportunities for the next generation of conservationists. We are fortunate to have such a supportive partner who is clearly focused
on a sustainable future.”

The rest of the money will go towards extending TNC two-year Conservation Fellowship program. It will allow a new graduate to get hands-on work, career-building work in the conservation capacity. TNC also plans to finish the final phase of their wetland restoration project at the Erie Marsh, restoring the 198-acres to the natural state.

Construction at The Nature Conservancy’s Erie Marsh Preserve, near Monroe, MI/Courtesy, DTE

“The DTE Foundation understands the importance of doing everything we can to protect the
wonderous natural beauty in our home state through our long-standing partnership with The
Nature Conservancy and its forward-thinking programs,” Dowler said. “We have seen the impact of the TNC’s work firsthand over the years and are grateful for their efforts to preserve our home state’s environment, benefitting our communities for generations to come.”

Lastly, the remaining the rest of the grant money will run through the Healthy Cities program for TNC, brining environmental programs to the inner-city. With this money, TNC will work with Detroit based groups to improve and develop green stormwater infrastructure in the Eastern Market area to help improve water quality.

“As Michiganders, we are all fortunate to have The Nature Conservancy working on our behalf; their vision will ensure the vitality of our state’s natural heritage,” Dowler said.