Great Lakes To Receive $1 Billion from Infrastructure Bill For Restoration

An additional $1 billion in federal funding will bolster current efforts to clean polluted water sources and restore ecosystems in the Great Lakes region.

February 24, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Maumee River

A toxic algae bloom caused by agricultural runoff covers Lake Erie. | NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory / Flickr

An infusion of cash from the federal government will boost efforts to restore the Great Lakes. As John Flesher and Zeke Miller report, the funding will supplement the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an Obama-era program that funds cleanup and restoration activities in the region. "It’s been one of the few matters on which the region’s congressional Democrats and Republicans routinely agree. They thwarted President Donald Trump’s early efforts to gut the program, which GOP lawmakers from Michigan eventually persuaded him to support."

As the nation's largest source of fresh water, the Great Lakes fueled rapid economic growth in the region, where they provide water to 40 million people. But decades of industrial uses and runoff have created toxic conditions. According to the article, "The $1 billion for the Great Lakes from the bipartisan measure enacted in November, combined with annual funding through an ongoing recovery program, will enable agencies by 2030 to finish work on 22 sites designated a quarter-century ago as among the region’s most degraded, officials said Thursday." 

"The more than 6,000 projects funded under the restoration initiative also deal with some of the lakes’ other biggest problems," the article goes on to explain. "They include invasive species such as quagga mussels that unravel food chains; toxic algae blooms caused by agricultural runoff and sewage overflows; and loss of wetlands and other wildlife habitat."

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