Friday, July 26, 2013

$8.5 Million For Great Lakes Green Infrastructure

Jul 26: U.S. EPA announced that it has invited the 22 largest U.S. Great Lakes shoreline cities to apply for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding for green infrastructure projects that will improve Great Lakes water quality. Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman said, "These Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants will be used for green infrastructure projects to reduce urban runoff and sewer overflows that foul beaches and impair Great Lakes water quality."

    Up to $8.5 million is available to U.S. Great Lakes shoreline cities in the following amounts: (A) Population greater than 500,000 Up to $1,000,000; (B) Population from 100,000 - 499,999 Up to $500,000; and (C) Population from 50,000 - 99,999 Up to $250,000. Eligible cities can use the grants to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of rain gardens, bio-swales, green roofs, porous pavement, greenways, constructed wetlands, stormwater tree trenches and other green infrastructure measures installed on public property. Cities are encouraged to work with non-governmental organizations and private sector partners on these projects. Grants will be awarded to eligible Great Lakes shoreline cities on a "first-come, first awarded" basis – until funding runs out. The applications deadline is September 15, 2013.
    Access a release from EPA and link to complete details (click here). [#GLakes]

Democratic Senators Want Great Lakes In Climate Plan

Jul 23: Six Great Lakes Democratic Senators wrote President Obama urging him "to fully incorporate the risks and impacts to the Great Lakes" as he charts a plan for confronting climate change [See WIMS 6/25/13 & See WIMS 6/26/13]. The letter is from Senators Carl Levin (D-MI)); Dick Durbin (D-IL); Al Franken (D-MN); Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Charles Schumer (D-NY); and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) . It points to the importance of the Great Lakes, which supply drinking water to 40 million residents and provide 1.5 million jobs, and to problems such as low lake levels and extreme weather that are likely to worsen if climate change continues.
    In their letter the Senators indicate, "This year, Great Lakes water levels reached new historic lows severely hampering commercial shipping, jeopardizing recreational boating and fishing, devastating the tourism industry, threatening electric power generation, compromising water supply infrastructure, and exacerbating problems caused by invasive species.  In addition, severe spring storms in the Midwest resulted in flooding that damaged highways, homes, businesses, and public buildings.  The heavy rains and flooding also ironically exacerbated shipping problems in the Great Lakes because the runoff from these storms resulted in excessive sedimentation, further restricting shipping channels.  While we are pleased that your climate action plan would help make communities more resilient to flooding, it is disappointing that low water levels and the Great Lakes were not once mentioned in your plan, nor addressing the impacts they cause to shipping and the economy, water and energy supplies, shoreline integrity and the environment. The impacts of climate change on the nation's largest freshwater system should not be overlooked.
    Access a release and the complete letter (click here). [#GLakes, #Climate]