Senators Stabenow, Peters Applaud Great Lakes Investment in West Michigan

Thursday, March 26, 2015

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, and Gary Peters, member of the Great Lakes Task Force, today applauded the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative announcement to allocate $1,356,970 to three projects in West Michigan to improve water quality and protect natural habitats in the region. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding will be used to improve water quality and remove pollutants in Tamarack Creek and Bear Lake and restore wetlands and floodplains along the Macatawa River. Both of these waterways flow into Lake Michigan.

"This support will improve water quality in the Tamarack Creek and Bear Lake, reduce phosphorus and sediment runoff in the Macatawa River, and protect Lake Michigan," said Senator Stabenow. "Today's announcement further underscores the importance of partnerships like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which invests in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways."

"Michigan's agricultural producers and manufacturers depend on our waterways and the Great Lakes for everything from irrigation to transportation for exports," Senator Peters said. "These projects will work to reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful algal blooms and other contamination that threatens our vitally important rivers and the Great Lakes."

"This Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding will be used to implement best management practices on agricultural land and two residential parks near Tamarack Creek to improve water quality and decrease climate change impacts," said Terry Stilson, executive director of The Muskegon River Watershed Assembly.

"We are very pleased to have been selected by the EPA to receive GLRI funding. This grant is a validation of Project Clarity's goals and our efforts to establish public and private partnerships," said Travis Williams, executive director of Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway. "We are excited for the EPA investment and look forward to a healthier, cleaner watershed."

"Lake Michigan is an invaluable natural resource, and Delta Institute is thrilled to lead a diverse coalition of organizations and stakeholders to improve water quality the Bear Lake Watershed within the Lake Michigan Basin," said Delta Institute CEO Jean Pogge. "We are grateful for the support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that allows us to create the innovative partnerships that can deliver effective solutions to improve ecological conditions in the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern."

The Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Delta Institute, and Outdoor Discovery Center projects are among seven projects chosen in Michigan to receive a total of more than $5.7 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative awards. The funding will be used to improve water quality by removing pollutants and reducing the amount of sediment and phosphorus runoff into Lake Michigan. The Tamarack Creek, Bear Lake, and Macatawa River projects will receive $356,970, $750,000, and $250,000, respectively.

Sens. 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.