State’s framework for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative includes funds specifically for Saginaw Bay
ARENAC COUNTY — Two grant project categories in the $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) specifically cite the Saginaw Bay, where E. Coli was discovered this summer off the shores of Arenac County, as a body of water that could qualify for multiple grant projects.
A copy of the framework, which coordinates activities for the initiative, which includes $250 million for grant projects, says $6.5 million for 20-35 projects under the umbrella of pollution prevention and toxics reduction is available and that projects dealing with Saginaw Bay sediment reuse, agricultural pesticides/hazardous waste collection and storm water collection would all be deemed worthy of grant funds. The maximum amount for pollution prevention and toxics reduction grants is $1 million per project. These grants, the framework says, would allow for fewer contaminants in the Saginaw Bay, as well as provide ongoing collection programs throughout the Great Lakes Basin and improved knowledge and the practice of environmentally safe recycling of waste.
The second category that specifically identifies the Saginaw Bay as qualifying for grant funds is Toxicant TMDL (total maximum daily loads) development in the Great Lakes Basin. Eight to 12 projects will be awarded grant funds under this category, with a total of $1 million allocated for these projects, which can cost a maximum of $200,000 each. The Michigan Strategic Framework says these projects should address toxicants such as mercury, dioxin and pesticides, amongst others. It also says the end product in the grant application should include a pollutant reduction strategy.
The GLRI could potentially provide the county, or specifically Whitney Township, with funding to investigate the issue of E. Coli being present at the Singing Bridge Public Access. E. Coli was also present at the Arenac County Park in AuGres and White’s Beach in Standish Township for short periods of time this summer. The bacteria was present in tests from June to September at Singing Bridge. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Toxicologist Shannon Briggs told the Independent last month that the she was confident funding to investigate, discover the source of E. Coli and reduce/remove the bacteria from Singing Bridge could be provided by the GLRI.
Applications for the $250 million available in GLRI funds are due Jan. 29 and award selections will begin to be made Feb. 28.