CHICAGO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the award of 15 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants totaling more than $8 million for projects to combat invasive species in the Great Lakes basin.
“These Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants will be used to target aquatic and terrestrial invasive species in the Great Lakes basin,” said Region 5 Administrator/ Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman. “The projects will also help to prevent the introduction of new invasive species that pose significant risks to the Great Lakes ecosystem.”
Since 2010, EPA has funded more than 80 GLRI projects totaling over $50 million to combat invasive species.
The latest EPA invasive species grant recipients are:
· Illinois Department of Natural Resources ($999,725) will work with partners (Forest Preserves of Cook County, Chicago Park District, Illinois Nature Preserve Commission and The Nature Conservancy) to control invasive plants in the Millennium Reserve which is located along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. Twelve sites — totaling almost 300 acres of wetlands, prairies and savannas — will be restored. The project will also provide work experience through the city’s Greencorps program.
· Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission ($999,648) will work with public and private landowners to remove at least 1,500 acres of phragmites along the shores of Green Bay on Lake Michigan. The project will identify and prioritize removal sites and provide training to landowners on methods to control phragmites.
· Upper Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council ($964,922) will collaborate with local and regional partners to restore 800 acres of coastal shoreline and wetlands in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (in the Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior watersheds) by treating invasive phragmites. The council will also train local groups to detect new infestations and assume stewardship for long-term control efforts.
· Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture ($635,000) will collaborate with the Milwaukee Conservation Leadership Corps/Student Conservation Association, the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute to remove plant invasive species from 32 ecologically diverse natural areas encompassing 1,300 acres of critical wildlife habitat in the Lake Michigan basin. The project will also provide educational opportunities for students in grades 6-12 and for college students.
· Lorain County, Ohio, ($634,889) will implement a project to control at least 30 acres of invasive plant species (particularly phragmites) and to restore habitat in the Black River Watershed and two smaller tributaries to Lake Erie. About 10 seasonal employees will be hired for this project through the Black River Civilian Conservation Corps.
· Wayne County Department of Public Services ($634,756) and partners which include a student conservation corps will implement an integrated pest management program for invasive species along the Rouge River and on county property in the Detroit River watershed. The project will control phragmites, Eurasian milfoil, buckthorn, garlic mustard and other invasive species on 250 acres in the Lake Erie basin.
· The Nature Conservancy ($622,594) will deploy work crews to eliminate invasive species (including phragmites, Japanese stiltgrass, glossy buckthorn and wild carrot) from about 400 acres of priority lands in Michigan’s Oak Openings Region and Ohio’s western Lake Erie watershed. Removing invasive species from this globally rare ecosystem will benefit plants, animals and natural communities.
· Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization ($534,230) will work with the Crooked River Cooperative Weed Management Area Partnership to identify and remove invasive plants (including phragmites, cattails, purple loosestrife, Japanese stiltgrass and hydrilla) from about 1,800 acres in the Cuyahoga River watershed, which drains into Lake Erie. A regional team will work with local partners to improve public awareness of invasive plants in this watershed.
· Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences ($491,090) and the Lake Ontario Headwaters Integrated Control Program will coordinate activities in western Adirondack Park to protect the headwaters of Lake Ontario from aquatic invasive species. Teams will remove invasive plants from 200 acres along four Adirondack waterways. In addition, five boat launch sites will be staffed with boat inspectors.
· Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Advisory Council ($472,920) will use a conservation corps model to control numerous invasive plant species at several sites, spanning about 640 acres over 100 river miles in the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior basins. The project also provides education to tribal youths and adults on preventing the spread of invasive species.
· The Nature Conservancy ($364,630) will work with private landowners in the Lake Erie basin to control invasive plants on 500 acres of land adjacent to the Grand River and its tributaries (including wetlands). This project will control invasive species such as phragmites and Japanese knotweed, and will create five seasonal jobs.
· The Nature Conservancy ($254,517) will provide assistance to private landowners in the western Lake Erie basin to manage invasive plant species on their property. This project will promote the transition from government’s wide-scale approach to treating and controlling invasive species to an approach that is landowner-led and property-based.
· Friends of the Cedarburg Bog ($197,119) will implement a project to control buckthorn in over 600 acres of the Cedarburg Bog near Milwaukee. The bog is an example of the high-quality wetland communities — once common to the southern Lake Michigan watershed –which are now threatened by a growing population of invasive glossy buckthorn.
· Alger Conservation District ($187,462) will use chemical, biological and manual methods to control invasive species (including purple loosestrife, Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard) on 130 acres of land in the central portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the Lake Michigan and the Lake Superior basins. The project will also provide outreach to landowners on long-term strategies to control invasive species.
· West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission ($153,314) and local partners will implement a project to control phragmites and purple loosestrife on about 50 acres shoreline wetlands near Muskegon Lake and Bear Lake in the Lake Michigan basin. Residents and landowners will also be trained on methods to control invasive plants.
GLRI funding is also used to support efforts to prevent Asian Carp from establishing populations in the Great Lakes. To date, GLRI has contributed $115 million to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee and Great Lakes states for this work.
Since 2010, EPA has funded more than 690 Great Lakes restoration and protection projects totaling over $560 million. For more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, visit www.glri.us.