GLRI receives $20 million in additional funding

The EPA announced in mid-April that an additional $20 million has been appropriated for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding for fiscal year 2020. The GLRI was established in 2010 and has been funded for approximately $3.48 billion through 2020. In Lucas County, $734,548 has been allocated to design and construct a two-stage ditch in Van Fleet Ditch, located within the Swan Creek sub-watershed of the Maumee River watershed. The installation of the two-stage ditch will result in the creation of 3.9 acres of total riparian area and 3,050 linear feet of new floodplain. By slowing and capturing run-off, the project will ultimately reduce annual loads of phosphorus, sediment and nitrogen.

Kari Gerwin, director of Water Quality Planning said, “This year’s increase will provide much needed funding for work that improves water quality in our local streams and Lake Erie.” Local governments and conservation partners across the TMACOG region have used the fund to build wetlands, clean up contaminated sites, restore habitat, and prevent nutrient runoff from farm fields.

Examples of local initiatives include rain gardens in urban areas and an agricultural program that promoted best practices.

In a press release, the U.S. EPA announced that it anticipates using the increase to further its efforts to address persistent challenges affecting the Great Lakes including Areas of Concern (AOCs), invasive species control and prevention, excess nutrients, and habitat restoration. Parts of the Maumee River watershed are one of the AOCs in the Great Lakes region.

“Eliminating water pollution and boosting restoration of the Great Lakes is a priority for me as Administrator at EPA,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in the release. “With this additional $20 million, we will be able to target many harder-to-solve challenge areas like invasive species and high nutrient loads.”

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