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News Releases from Region 05

U.S. EPA Highlights Seven Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants Totaling Over $3.3 Million for Northern Ohio

Contact Information: 
Anne Rowan (rowan.anne@epa.gov)
Peter Cassell (cassell.peter@epa.gov)

TOLEDO, OHIO -- (May 4, 2016) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Senior Advisor Cameron Davis and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur today highlighted seven Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants for projects in northern Ohio totaling more than $3.3 million at an event at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge near Toledo. These are among 28 GLRI grants that were announced today totaling over $12.5 million.

"With support from a strong alliance of bipartisan senators, representatives, states, tribes, municipalities, conservation organizations and businesses, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will keep making strong investments to resuscitate the Lakes," said Davis.

"We’ve seen the impact that threats to Lake Erie have on our economy, water supply, and wildlife. That’s why I’ve continued to fight for full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – one of our most effective tools to protect the water quality of the Great Lakes,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said. “Today’s announcement is great news for Ohio, and the EPA’s federal investment will help support the proactive role local stakeholders have taken in protecting our lake.”

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has already proven to be a highly effective tool for protecting and restoring our Great Lakes,” said U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. “I am pleased to see GLRI resources being used in Ohio to combat the most serious threats to Lake Erie, including harmful algal blooms, invasive species and pollution. I look forward to continuing to work with federal and state partners to protect our fresh water bodies not just in the Great Lakes, but across the state.”

“Lake Erie provides drinking water for over 11 million people. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative’s support for programs such as these awarded today has been critical to state and local efforts to protect Lake Erie’s freshwater future,” said U.S. Rep. Kaptur, a co-chair of Congress’ Great Lakes Caucus. “GLRI’s investments, including today’s announcement of over $3 million in Ohio-based awards, will help to keep a laser focus on the challenges presented by nutrient run-off and invasive species in the Lakes.”

“We are truly fortunate to have a national treasure like Lake Erie and the Great Lakes that provides our region with drinking water, tourism, and robust economic activity,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Latta. “We must continue to work to ensure its vibrancy and I am glad that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative can play a role in doing so.”

The seven Ohio GLRI grant recipients announced today are:

  • The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments was awarded $497,258 to partner with farmers to implement agricultural conservation practices like variable rate technology fertilizer application, cover crops, and controlled drainage or water control structures in the Portage and Toussaint River watersheds. This project will reduce dissolved total phosphorus discharges to Lake Erie by 10,889 pounds over a three-year period, helping alleviate the harmful algal bloom problem. It is estimated that 150 landowners, representing a total of 18,750 acres of farmland, will participate.
  • The Western Reserve Land Conservancy was awarded $500,000 to purchase 290 acres of easements in the Chagrin River watershed, and will add another $1.2 million in donated easement value and staff time to establish a 1,350-acre corridor of protected lands in the Lake Erie basin. The easement includes stream bank stabilization and protection, which will eliminate about 38,000 pounds of sediment deposition to Lake Erie annually.
  • IPM Institute of North America was awarded $408,150 to implement an incentive program for farmers to reduce nutrient loading into Lake Erie. Each participating farmer is expected to attain up to a 60 percent phosphorus reduction, which will help alleviate the harmful algal bloom problem. It is estimated that at least 225 farmers will participate, and associated outreach work will increase awareness among the farming community, leading to a replicable conservation model across the Great Lakes Basin.
  • Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development was awarded $500,000 to work with farmers to reduce the discharge of nutrients and sediments to Lake Erie by increasing their participation in pay-for-performance conservation. This project is expected to reduce 3,700 pounds of total phosphorus; 1,850 pounds of dissolved phosphorus; 4,400,000 pounds of sediment; and 100,000 pounds of nitrogen to Lake Erie annually, helping alleviate the complex harmful algal bloom problem.
  • The University of Toledo was awarded $499,991 to analyze the potential movement of invasive fish and mollusk species into the Great Lakes by analyzing purchases of live species from bait shops, outfitters, pond suppliers, and pet stores. The grantee will use genetic analyses to detect invasive species and assess the risks of these pathways and will also create a pilot “Invasive Free” certification program for retailers.
  • The Cleveland Metropolitan Park District was awarded $316,830 to control up to 54 acres of hydrilla, an aquatic invasive plant, in Cleveland Metroparks waters and the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern. Outreach efforts will engage Lake Erie basin park districts and watershed groups to assist in hydrilla detection and dissemination of educational materials.
  • The Nature Conservancy was awarded $650,000 to control 1,000 acres of invasive plants along the Lake Erie coastline in northeast Ohio. The project will target non-native phragmites and invasive woody and herbaceous species, taking into account the timing of control actions to avoid impacts to birds during nesting and migration. The project will also educate visitors to Ohio’s beaches on the importance of coastal health.

GLRI was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world. Since then, GLRI has funded more than 2,930 projects totaling over $1.5 billion. Priority funding areas include restoration work in highly contaminated Areas of Concern, nutrient reduction, invasive species control and habitat restoration.

For more information about the GLRI, visit: http://www.glri.us.

For more information on today’s grant announcement, visit: https://www.epa.gov/great-lakes-funding/great-lakes-restoration-initiative-2015-request-applications