Thursday, March 5, 2009

$593,089 For Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Restoration

Feb 25: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today $593,089 in federal funding for fish and wildlife restoration projects in the Great Lakes Basin. The projects will be matched by $278,810 in partner contributions, and will focus on the rehabilitation of sustainable populations of native fish and wildlife and their habitats. The grants are funded under the authority of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, which provides assistance to states, tribes and other interested entities to encourage cooperative conservation, and restoration and management of native fish and wildlife resources and their habitat in the Great Lakes Basin.

Ten projects were selected for funding with 2008 funds. Grant recipients include Ducks Unlimited, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan DNR, Michigan State University, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Superior Watershed Partnership and the University of Illinois. Project proposals are developed by interested entities and sponsored each year by tribes and states in the Great Lakes in response to a request for proposals from the Service. The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Proposal Review Committee, a 25-member body representing states and tribes in the Great Lakes Basin, reviews project proposals and develops recommendations on projects and funding for approval by the Service.

Access a release from FWS (click here). Access more information on grants under the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act (click here).

Cities Initiative Applauds Obama Great Lakes Funding

Mar 4: The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLCI) applauded the recent steps by President Obama and Congress to invest in the Great Lakes, the economic and natural resource foundation for a large part of the United States and Canada. They said these include the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) [See WIMS 2/17/09] passed by Congress and the President’s 2010 budget provisions, which include $475 million for the Great Lakes and large increases for water infrastructure [See WIMS 2/26/09].

Mayor Richard Daley, Mayor of Chicago and Founding U.S. Chair of the Cities Initiative, "We have been working hard to get Washington to understand how vital the Great Lakes are to the quality of life and economic well being of tens of millions of people. These investments will not only go a long way towards protecting and restoring this important natural resource, but will also put people back to work and spur economic development." GLCI said that the ARRA would provide $6 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure money, over 30% of which is likely to come to the Great Lakes region. This funding begins the process of reducing the $70 billion plus wastewater infrastructure deficit estimated by U.S. EPA.

The President’s Budget for FY 2010 includes $475 million for the Great Lakes specifically, and increases the funding for water infrastructure nationally to $3.9 billion. The funding for the Great Lakes would be by far the largest amount ever dedicated to the global freshwater resource. The Great Lakes funding is designed to help implement the 2005 Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy. Included would be work on invasive species, non-point source pollution, and contaminated sediments. The Cities Initiative plans to work with federal, state, and tribal representatives to steer the funding to those areas most needing attention and where it can do the most good for the resource.

In a related matter, GLCI has announce that registration is now open for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, 2009 Annual Member Meeting & Conference to be held at Trois Rivières, Québec, June 17-19, 2009.

Access a release from GLCI (
click here). Access complete program and registration information for the GLCI conference (click here). Access the GLCI website for more information (click here).