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Great Lakes Restoration Funding Restored

For Immediate Release

Congress Makes the Right Call on Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Providing Communities with Cost-effective Conservation Programs

By fully funding the very popular and impactful Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), Congress guarantees our generation’s best chance to protect and restore the Great Lakes.l michigan13 12rz

Since 2009, GLRI has returned to our states more than $2 billion in the eight-state region. The successful initiative has removed toxic waste from industrial sites, combatted invasive species such as Asian carp, restored critical wildlife habitat and maintained clean drinking water for 40 million Americans. However, President Trump’s original budget released last year slashed funding for the vital program by 90 percent.

In our communities of Ozaukee and Washington counties and the surrounding region, GLRI has been a godsend for our families who depend on a healthy Lake Michigan for our drinking water, our economy, and our way of life.

With funding from GLRI, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) initiated a project to support local community efforts to control invasive plants across southeast Wisconsin.

Invasive species are serious threats to coastal communities along Lake Michigan.  If not stopped now, the great majority of our coastal shoreline, riverbanks and other wetlands will be overtaken by these species and our Wisconsin wildlife habitat and the quality of our water will be greatly diminished by this invasion. The longer we wait, the more costly control efforts will become. 

GLRI has allowed the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust to continue its leadership role as an innovator in public and private partnerships. Since 2016, we’ve protected almost 27 miles of shoreline from invasive species – roughly the distance between Port Washington and Milwaukee!  

The need for collaboration has never been more urgent as the pervasive threat of invasive species burns across our region like wildfire.

What’s more, our public-private collaborations mean more bang for the buck! Through the GLRI Program, OWLT has generated $831,000 in public and private investment for our community with only 4% administrative overhead. That means more dollars on the ground, doing conservation work and spurring local economic growth.

In addition to OWLT’s efforts to eradicate invasive species across our publicly accessible preserves, our GLRI project’s impact can be seen across the region: from Friends of the Cedarburg Bog’s effort to annually survey and eradicate invasive species from sixty-one miles of roadways surrounding the world class bog (that is one of the largest and most outstanding wetlands remaining in southeast Wisconsin) to efforts by the Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation, Riveredge Nature Center and Mequon Nature Preserve to control invasive plants located on their respective preserve lands, which are visited by tens of thousands of Wisconsinites.

In Milwaukee County, grant support will fund invasive species control efforts at Hunger Task Force Farm, which features one of only two publically-owned remnant oak savannahs surviving in Milwaukee County and will assist Friends of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in support of its Early Detection and Rapid Response Project, which will lead to long-term benefits to the Great Lakes ecosystem by managing and restoring nearshore wetland and upland habitats to sustain the health and function of natural communities.

The same spirit of cooperation for the Great Lakes has extended all the way to the halls of Congress where a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, including Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and local U.S. Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner and Glenn Grothman, rallied to fully fund GLRI.

The enormity of the Great Lakes in both size and significance – and the tremendous challenges they face – demand that we continue to work together to care for this extraordinary natural resource. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the surest way to continue to protect and restore the Great Lakes in a cost effective and collaborative manner.


Tom Stolp, Executive Director



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OWLT Seeks National Accreditation Renewal

The Ozaukee Washington Landfbmp hawk tower 9 5 13 Trust (OWLT) is pleased to announce that it is applying for renewal of its national accreditation with The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.  The Commission recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national best-practice standards in protecting important natural landscapes and working lands. To learn more about the accreditation program, please visit

During the accreditation renewal process, the Commission conducts an extensive review of OWLT’s policies and programs as they relate to the ethical and technical operation of the land trust. As OWLT prepared for accreditation renewal, staff, board and committee members reviewed current policies and practices with the goal of enhancing operations, thereby leading to more effective land conservation in our community.

The renewal of our independent accreditation is in further fulfillment of our promise to protect the natural resources of Ozaukee and Washington Counties in perpetuity. Through accreditation, OWLT demonstrates to our donors, members and the public that we are a trusted and professional conservation partner and take seriously our promise of permanent protection of our most cherished natural resources. For more information about OWLT’s community programs and protection efforts, please visit

The public comment period for OWLT’s accreditation renewal is now open.  The Commission invites and encourages public input on pending applications, and accepts signed, written comments. All public comments must relate to how OWLT complies with the national accreditation standards. For the full list of these standards please visit

To submit written comments at the website, visit, scroll down to the middle of the webpage and click on the green box labeled “Comment on a Land Trust” and follow the instructions.  In addition, you may email your comments to , fax comments to (518)587-3183 Attn: Public Comments, or mail comments to:

Land Trust Accreditation Commission

Attn: Public Comments

36 Phila Street, Suite 2

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Comments on OWLT’s application for accreditation renewal will be most useful if received by the Commission on or before April 28, 2018.

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Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Brings New Community Leadership to Board of Directors

The board of directors of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) has elected a new slate of executive leadership for the upcoming year, with community leader Marjie Tomter as President.

Tomter, a retired educator and administrator has served on OWLT’s board since 2011 and been a member since 1995.

“We’re thrilled to have the leadership of Marjie Tomter as President,” said Tom Stolp, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Executive Director. “Marjie is one of those proven community connectors and is truly representative of the conservation ethic held by our supporters and the land owners we work with across the community.”

Marjie Tomter Marjie Tomter, newly elected President of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust

“I love being part of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and look forward to this opportunity to lead.  I believe that even with the tremendous number of issues facing our community and nation, protecting our land and our water at the local level is essential and underlies everything else.”

Tomter fills a position held since 2012 by Attorney, Dan Dineen who continues to serve on the board and as legal counsel to the land trust. Dineen’s presidential term represents the longest tenure in the land trust’s 25-year history. Under his guidance the land trust has placed more than 6600 acres of sensitive lands under protection and maintains thirty preserves, open to the public, across Ozaukee and Washington Counties.

Joining Marjie Tomter as the officers of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust are:

Vice President: Cheryl Brickman, Mequon

Secretary: John Capelle, West Bend

Treasurer: Rick Fox, Cedarburg

West Bend Attorney James Danaher was approved as a new board member joining volunteer leaders: Brenda Bowers, Janet Ehn, Pat Marchese (Mequon), Brett Vuyk, Mike Nast, (West Bend), Shannon Buending (Kewaskum), Frank Volpintesta (Hartford), and Manish Gupta (Grafton).

Board member Chris Ford of Newburg, concluded his service to the land trust after three years of dedicated leadership, providing vision and support to OWLT’s Great Rivers, Great Lakes campaign to protect 2,000 acres of sensitive lands and waters in the Milwaukee River Watershed and along Lake Michigan.

The transition in leadership marks the end of an era at the land trust, as long-time board member John Torinus concludes his last term. For twenty of the land trust’s twenty-five years, either John or spouse, Caroline “Kine” Torinus have served on the board, with Kine leading for four years at President.

“Ozaukee and Washington Counties would not have anywhere near the level of land and water conservation success without John and Kine Torinus championing our cause across the region,” said Tom Stolp. Added Stolp, “That’s not flattery, it’s fact. John and Kine had the winning idea in 1998 that Washington County should join the already established Ozaukee Land Trust.”


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