Habitat Improvement Project in the Estuary Environment (HIPEE)
The project seeks to improve fish habitat and spawning patterns within the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern by installing Habitat Underwater Baskets (HUB) – effectively reducing a barrier between upstream spawning/nursery habitat and Lake Michigan and allowing many species of fish to more successfully complete their lifecycle. Riverbanks along the 15 miles of river channels have been widened, dredged, and lined with various hard armored shorelines during the industrialization of Milwaukee, effectively removing all natural aquatic habitat. HUB’s are made of thick durable rubber designed to withstand freeze/thaw patterns, ice and wave action, and are planted with vegetation. Marek Landscaping was part of the initial HUB installation in the Cuyahoga River, brought the idea to Milwaukee with design changes, and is co-primary investigator and primary consultant in all aspects of plant selection and grow-up, basket attachment design, and installation process. We wrote technical and budget portions of grant applications, are managing the construction and installation of 250 HUBs within the estuary, and co-developed a customized proprietary GPS based monitoring application, which tracks plant recruitment and generates real time reports and charts. The project is funded through Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and Fund for Lake Michigan (FFLM).