Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IJC Extends Comment On Great Lakes Water Levels Study

Aug 30: The International Joint Commission (IJC) announced that it is inviting public comment via a bilingual public hearing by teleconference on the final report of its International Upper Great Lakes Study Board, Lake Superior Regulation: Addressing Uncertainty in Upper Great Lakes Water Levels. The teleconference will be held at 7:00 PM (EDT) on September 19, 2012 and will provide an opportunity to be heard for those who were not able to attend one of the 13 public hearings that the IJC conducted in upper Great Lakes communities during July 2012. The deadline for comments has also been extended to September 30th, 2012. Comments may also be submitted by email, in writing or via an online form.
    The report examines whether the regulation of outflows from Lake Superior through the compensating works and power dams on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie might be improved to take into consideration the evolving needs of users on Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie. The report also examines the potential future impacts of climate change, a management strategy to better anticipate and respond to future extreme water levels, the feasibility and implications of restoring water levels in lakes Michigan-Huron and multi-lake regulation and its impacts throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. 
    Access a release from IJC with additional details on commenting and the teleconference (click here). Access the report website for complete information and background (click here).
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EPA Announces $2.6 Million In Grants For Beaches In MI & WI

Aug 28: U.S. EPA announced seven Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants, totaling over $2.6 million, to improve water quality at Great Lakes beaches in Michigan and Wisconsin. The grants were announced by EPA Region 5 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. Hedman said, "These Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants will improve water quality, allowing people to enjoy more days at Great Lakes beaches. 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. The seven projects announced include:

  • $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 MDEQ 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 MDEQ to build a green stormwater infiltration system at New Buffalo City Beach to reduce bacteria and nutrient levels.
    Access a release from EPA with further details on each project (click here).
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