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StormWater MetroBeach 2012

GLRI Grant Awarded to Improve Water Quality at Metro Beach
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Josh Drobnyk Office: (202) 225-4961
Aug 28, 2012 Issues: Environment

$500,000 grant to Huron-Clinton Metropark Authority

The Environmental Protection Agency today announced a new $500,000 grant
to the Huron-Clinton Metropark Authority to reduce the impact of
storm water at Lake St. Clair Metropark (Metro Beach).
This is the second year of funding for the effort, which is funded
through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

Storm water at Lake St. Clair Metropark (Metro Beach) is currently
captured in a traditional storm drain system and discharged to
Lake St. Clair. Pollutants from automobiles and waterfowl that
congregate in an old 42-acre parking lot constructed in the 1950s
negatively affect storm water quality and contribute to beach closings.
The GLRI grant will help fund passive biological treatment systems
that will be used to reduce storm water runoff and improve water quality.
An additional 1.2 acres of pavement will be removed and converted to panels
of grass and native vegetation to capture runoff and direct it to the
marsh where biological treatment of pollutants can occur.

“This important grant will continue a project begun last year to reduce,
capture and redirect polluted storm water runoff away from the
Black Creek and Lake St. Clair,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI).
“The Great Lakes are one of our nation’s crown jewels and it is federal
support like this that is helping to ensure that always remains the case.”

Last year, GLRI program provided $1 million that help remove 11.5 acres
of pavement in the first phase of this project. This year’s grant funding
will also construct deep swales within the parking lot below the storm water
system, cut the existing storm pipes, and intercept the water in the swales,
thereby eliminating all of the storm water directly entering
Black Creek/Lake St. Clair.

GLRI grants are competitively awarded. This year, EPA received 200
applications for GLRI funding from state, tribal, and municipal agencies,
nongovernmental organizations, and other eligible entities.
Funding requests totaled about $73 million, more than three times
the approximately $21 million available for grants this year.

With the start of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding in 2010,
the Lakes are receiving much-needed support. The GLRI addresses numerous
threats to the Great Lakes and strives to achieve the long-term goals of
protecting beaches and offshore waters for swimming, boating and fishing;
assuring safe drinking water, and providing a healthy ecosystem for
fish and wildlife. The program also funds cleanup of toxic hotspots
around the Great Lakes and has been a critical source of funding for
efforts to prevent the Asian carp from invading the Lakes.

Over the last three years, Congress has approved just over $1 billion
for the GLRI effort. In the House of Representatives,
Reps. Levin, Slaughter, Dingell and LaTourette have spearheaded
the effort for sustained funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Earlier this year, the four lawmakers organized a bipartisan letter to
the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on
the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, Levin and Dingell
urging $300 million for the GLRI. They were joined by a bipartisan
group of 33 other lawmakers from around the Great Lakes.

However, funding for the program is at risk of falling victim to efforts
by House Republicans to slash domestic programs, and EPA in particular.
In July, the House Appropriations Committee signed off on its draft of
the FY 2013 appropriation for EPA.

That bill contains $250 million for GLRI – a $50 million reduction
from current funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not
marked up this bill yet. It is likely that the battle over GLRI funding
won’t be settled until after the November elections during the expected
lame duck session of Congress.
Said Rep. Levin, “Now is not the time to cut Great Lakes funding.”

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