Senators Stabenow, Peters Announce Great Lakes Investment to Reduce Algae Blooms in Lake Erie

Thursday, August 06, 2015

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters today announced the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative's $113,126 investment to reduce nutrient, phosphorous, and nitrogen runoff, which are major contributors to the growth of harmful algae blooms. This support, which comes through the Great Lakes Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, will help the Hillsdale Conservation District lessen runoff into the St. Joseph River, which connects to Lake Erie.

"The Great Lakes are part of who we are and our way of life," said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. "This investment will help the Hillsdale Conservation District partner with farmers to protect the St. Joseph River and all of our Great Lakes and waterways. Additionally, today's announcement builds off the work already being done to prevent algae blooms in Lake Erie thanks to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program."

"When phosphorus runoff and sediments pollute Michigan's waterways and our Great Lakes, it can causes serious economic and environmental damage," said Senator Peters, member of the Great Lakes Task Force. "This grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will support local solutions to combat these threats and improve the health of the St. Joseph River and Lake Erie."

The support will go towards the "Phosphorus Reduction of the St. Joseph River/Lake Erie" project. This project will help the Hillsdale Conservation District work with farmers to design and put in place conservation practices like planting cover crops, which help prevent phosphorous and nitrogen runoff into Michigan's lakes, rivers, and streams.

Senators Stabenow and Peters have been strong advocates for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is a multi-year plan to restore and preserve the Great Lakes by eliminating toxins, combating invasive species, restoring habitats, and promoting the general health of the Lakes. Just last week, Senator Stabenow urged the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to encourage states, businesses, universities, and organizations to continue efforts to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin.