EPA awards $172,000 for green infrastructure to improve water quality in Lake Erie

Evans, New York, will use these funds to install rain gardens and bioswales.

Lake Erie. Courtesy: Wikimedia commons.
Lake Erie. Courtesy: Wikimedia commons.

NEW YORK, AUGUST 11, 2016 -- The Environmental Protection Agency today has awarded a $172,125 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the Town of Evans, New York, to fund green infrastructure projects to improve water quality entering Lake Erie. The town will use these funds to install rain gardens and bioswales, which are tracts of land designed to manage drainage, in Evans Town Park to reduce bacteria at the beach and prevent approximately 221,000 gallons of untreated stormwater from reaching Lake Erie. In 2014, the Evans Town Park beach was closed on 31 days of the 66-day beach season due to water pollution occurrences.

"Through this EPA grant, Evans, New York will use green infrastructure to prevent stormwater from carrying contamination into Lake Erie and closing public beaches to swimming," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "Green infrastructure projects make environmental and fiscal sense, resulting in cleaner water, reduced flooding, and a more resilient shoreline in the face of climate change."

Evans will use the $172,125 grant to install two rain gardens and two vegetated bioswales in the Town Park to reduce discharges of untreated stormwater runoff to the local channel in the park that flows directly into Lake Erie. In addition, these green infrastructure projects should help reduce the number of beach closings at the park’s beach caused by bacteria, nutrients and other contaminants.

The town of Evans will hold a public meeting early in the design process to seek public input on the design of the rain gardens and bioswales.

Including Evans, 13 cities are receiving grants totaling more than $2 million from the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities program, which is designed to improve water quality in the Great Lakes basin through the use of green infrastructure. The projects include rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, porous pavement, greenways, constructed wetlands, stormwater tree trenches and other green infrastructure measures designed to improve water quality at locations throughout the Great Lakes basin.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world. It is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in more than two decades. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative resources are used by the EPA and ten other federal agencies to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem. Some 30 million Americans get their drinking water from the Great Lakes, and the lakes also support a multi-billion dollar economy based on fishing, boating and recreational activities.

For more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, visit http://www.glri.us.

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