Watershed grants awarded in Michigan for President's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

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EAST LANSING, MI, Sept. 24, 2010 -- Nearly $2 million in federal grants to five Michigan organizations were announced here this afternoon by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The grants are part of President Obama's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a $475 million program that represents the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades.

A total of 99 grants for an estimated $63 million are expected to be awarded in Michigan.

Cameron Davis, EPA's Senior Advisor on the Great Lakes, announced the grants at a news conference on the campus of Michigan State University. Two of the grants are for projects run by tribes in the Upper Peninsula. This helps advance EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's priority for expanding the conversation on environmental issues.

The five grants announced today are:

  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, $856,046 for implementing state and regional mercury control and prevention strategies to help shield pregnant women, children and subsistence populations from the toxic effects of mercury.
  • Saginaw Bay/Lake Huron Land Policy Project, Michigan State University, $399,287 for technical assistance to local governments and land owners to implement land use planning, protection and restoration strategies.
  • Michigan State University, $65,001 for a project to improve forecasting of beach and nearshore health effects, and protect public health by informing people when beach water is clean enough for swimming.
  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, $295,000 for development of a sustainable hazardous waste collection program to serve tribal and non-tribal community members in Baraga County, and help prevent toxic contaminants from entering Lake Superior.
  • Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa, $196,148 to improve habitat and water quality in the Bear River Watershed, which directly affects waters flowing into Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, led by EPA, involves 16 federal agencies. EPA is awarding $160 million in grants for aggressive community-based efforts to address five priorities:

  • Cleaning up toxics and toxic hot spots around the Great Lakes.
  • Combating invasive species.
  • Promoting nearshore health by protecting watersheds from polluted runoff.
  • Restoring wetlands and other habitats.
  • Accountability and working with strategic partners on outreach.

In addition to EPA, the federal agencies that make up the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force are:
White House Council on Environmental Quality.

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • U.S. Department of State.
  • U.S. Department of the Army.
  • U.S. Department of Interior.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation.

For more on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, please visit www.greatlakesrestoration.us.

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