Great Lakes

Satellite view of toxic algal bloom on Lake Erie
NASA Earth Observatory

 A wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program appears to have survived budget talks in Congress. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would get $300 million next year under a massive spending bill expected to go to a vote this week.

The initiative created by President Barack Obama works on pollution, invasive species and algae bloom issues in the lakes.

But Obama’s budget request this year was less than the amount that usually goes to the project—lawmakers from Great Lakes states pushed for full funding.

EPA: Up To $13.9M Available For Great Lakes Restoration

Jul 30, 2015
The shoreline of Lake Erie can become gummed up with algae during the summer months.
Brian Bull / WCPN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says up to $13.9 million is being made available in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants.

The agency says it's seeking proposals for new projects for the 2015 funding cycle. They're available to state, tribal, interstate and local governmental agencies, as well as colleges, universities and nonprofits.

A federal study of 18 potential aquatic links between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds says none of them are likely pathways to the lakes for Asian carp.
The U.S.  Army Corps of Engineers released the study Friday. It's among reports the agency is producing as it develops recommendations for preventing Asian carp and other invasive species from crossing between the two watersheds.


Experts from the U.S. and Canada say people in the Great Lakes region should not expect any large-scale engineering projects to control water levels in the foreseeable future.

A five-year, $14.6 million study released Wednesday proposes changes in how water outflows from Lake Superior are regulated.  That might have minor effects on water levels elsewhere.

But the International Upper Great Lakes Study says putting more dams or other structures in rivers to limit ups and downs in the lakes would be hugely expensive at a time of tight budgets.


Federal agriculture officials say they're spending $2 million to help farmers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana keep phosphorus from entering waterways in the western Lake Erie basin.

The U.S. Agriculture Department says projects include using new tools such as biofilters and controlled drainage. Officials say excessive phosphorus from manure causes blue-green algae to proliferate in rivers and streams, limiting oxygen concentrations in water.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to announce the effort today in Michigan.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - An environmental coalition has awarded $115,000 in grants to nine groups for Great Lakes restoration projects.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition grants announced this week will help organizations participate in a federal program designed to improve the region's environment by cleaning up toxic pollution, preventing species invasions and rebuilding habitat and wetlands.