CHICAGO, IL, Aug. 28, 2012 -- The U.S. EPA has announced seven Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants, totaling over $2.6 million, to improve water quality at Great Lakes beaches in Michigan and Wisconsin.
The grants were announced by EPA Regional Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman at Samuel Myers Park in Racine, Wisconsin, at one of the beaches targeted for work under the grants.
"These Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants will improve water quality, allowing people to enjoy more days at Great Lakes beaches," said Hedman. "The projects will make beaches safer, by eliminating harmful bacteria and other sources of contamination."
Over the last three years, GLRI has provided more than $29 million for 78 projects to protect and restore Great Lakes beaches. This funding has paid for sanitary surveys at 400 beaches, allowing beach managers to identify contamination sources and to implement projects that reduce or eliminate pollution. The GLRI has also funded eight projects to better forecast beach conditions and to develop technologies such as Smartphone apps to issue real-time alerts about swimming bans and beach closures.
Projects included in the announcement:
- $1 million (two grants of $500,000 each) to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to redesign eight Wisconsin beaches to reduce bacteria levels, resulting in fewer swimming bans and beach closures. The beaches are: Red Arrow Park Beach, Marinette; Crescent Beach, Algoma; Red Arrow Park Beach, Manitowoc; Thompson West End Park, Washburn; Grant Park, South Milwaukee; Samuel Myers Park, Racine; and Simmons Island and Eichelman Parks, Kenosha.
- $179,700 to the City of Marquette, Michigan, to lower health risks and to improve water quality at two Lake Superior beaches in Marquette by using green management practices to reduce contamination.
- $500,000 to the City of Marysville, Michigan, to install rain gardens and other green infrastructure to reduce contaminated stormwater runoff and to deter geese at Chrysler Beach on the St. Clair River.
- $500,000 to the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority for green infrastructure to reduce contaminated stormwater runoff at Lake St. Clair Metropark (Metro Beach.)
- $217,015 to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to construct rain gardens, plant native grass and install a filtration system to improve water quality and reduce health risks at Sherman Park and Four Mile beaches in Sault Ste. Marie.
- $263,188 to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to build a green stormwater infiltration system at New Buffalo City Beach to reduce bacteria and nutrient levels.
The GLRI, initially proposed by President Obama in February 2009, is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in over two decades. EPA is one of 16 federal agencies working to implement the GLRI Action Plan.