Live from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at the Great Lakes Restoration Conference

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will make pollution cleanups and habitat restoration projects a priority in several Great Lakes bays and tributaries over the next three years.

Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the increased emphasis and funding of work at a few sites is designed to complete cleanups, habitat restoration projects and produce “milestone results.”

Jackson praised the Healing Our Waters–Great Lakes Coalition for helping the agency set its Great Lakes funding priorities for the coming years. She said the agency’s goal is to get sites de-listed as Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

“We have to show results,” Jackson said.

Here are the EPA’s Great Lakes funding priorities:

  • In fiscal 2012-’13, the agency will aim to complete the dredging of toxic sediments and habitat restoration work in: White Lake and the River Raisin in Michigan; the Sheboygan River in Wisconsin; and the Ashtabula River in Ohio.
  • The agency in fiscal 2012-’13 also will prioritize efforts to reduce phosphorus pollution in Ohio’s Maumee River and bay, Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay and the lower Fox River in Wisconsin. Phosphorus runoff from farms and other sites is causing harmful algal blooms and contributing to a massive dead zone in Lake Erie.
  • In fiscal 2013-’14, Jackson said the agency will complete the dredging of toxic sediments and habitat restoration work in Waukegan Harbor, in Illinois and three Michigan waterways: Deer Lake, the Manistique River, the St. Clair River and St. Marys River.
Jeff Skelding, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said focusing restoration efforts on a few sites makes sense. “We need to demonstrate results,” he said.
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