Michigan City has been awarded $225,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities grant will support construction of rain gardens, trees and infrastructure to help improve water quality. June 5, 2015

News Release

CHICAGO, Ill. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities grants totaling more than $430,000 to four cities in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan to fund green infrastructure projects that will improve water quality in Lake Michigan.

Highland Park and Wilmette, Illinois; Michigan City, Indiana; and Muskegon, Michigan, are among 11 cities across the Great Lakes Basin which will receive funding totaling over $1.8 million through the current round of GLRI Shoreline Cities grants. EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman made the announcement at an event in Ohio.

“These cities along Lake Michigan will use EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities grants for green infrastructure projects to protect the lake,” said Hedman. “Green infrastructure captures and filters rain where it falls – to reduce flooding and to prevent stormwater from washing contaminants into our waterways.”

The following projects will be funded by grants announced today:

-Highland Park, Illinois, ($88,775) will install porous pavement at Rosewood Park Beach to prevent the discharge of 18,000 gallons of untreated stormwater into Lake Michigan each year.

-Wilmette, Illinois, ($8,000) will plant trees to intercept rainwater and facilitate filtration, which will prevent the discharge of about 40,000 gallons of untreated stormwater into Lake Michigan each year when the trees mature.

-Michigan City, Indiana, ($224,823) will construct rain gardens, bioswales, plant native trees, and install porous pavement along six blocks of Wabash Street to prevent the discharge of 30,000 gallons of untreated stormwater into Trail Creek and Lake Michigan each year.

-Muskegon, Michigan, ($110,448) will construct a wetland, a bioswale and rain gardens to prevent the discharge of over 5 million gallons of untreated stormwater into Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan each year.

“This federal funding isn’t only an investment in the health and beauty of Lake Michigan, it is also an investment in the streets, homes, and businesses on Chicago’s North Shore,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin. “When extreme weather causes flooding, our cities and our waterways suffer, leaving taxpayers and the environment to pay the price. That is why I have joined with Congressman Mike Quigley to push for a federal study on how we can expand mitigation efforts – like the green infrastructure projects funded through the EPA’s Shorelines Cities grants – and gain a better understanding of flooding in our cities.”

“Protecting the Great Lakes from pollution and unnecessary runoff is paramount to preserving one of the national treasures of this country and the drinking water for 30 million Americans,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. “As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force I have worked to provide the necessary federal assistance to ensure that local communities have the tools to protect their shorelines. I introduced legislation to authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that would secure continued funding for the Great Lakes to protect our nation’s most precious natural resource.”

“This support will improve water quality in Muskegon Lake and help make sure Lake Michigan remains clean and healthy for generations to come,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. “Today’s announcement further underscores the importance of partnerships like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which invests in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways.”

“This investment from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will enable Muskegon to implement forward-thinking infrastructure developments that improve Lake Michigan’s water quality,” said U.S. Sen. Gary Peters. “Michigan’s economy depends on the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem, and this funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative strengthens our ability to clean up stormwater pollution and protect Lake Michigan.”

“This crucial grant for Highland Park will help prevent untreated stormwater from threatening the source of drinking water for more than 30 million Americans,” U.S. Rep. Robert Dold. “I offer my sincere thanks to the EPA for recognizing the importance of protecting Lake Michigan, and look forward to continued work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find innovative solutions to preserve this national treasure.”

“Stormwater runoff presents a very real challenge to the health and safety of Lake Michigan and those who drink the water or spend time on the shore,” said U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky. “I congratulate Wilmette on earning this well-deserved grant to help prevent untreated stormwater from contaminating the lake, and I am excited about the benefits it will bring for the community.”

“Michigan City’s efforts to implement green infrastructure projects will improve water quality within the Great Lakes,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky. “These investments benefit area residents and local businesses as they enhance the city’s sustainability and in turn provide opportunities for economic growth. I congratulate Mayor Ron Meer for establishing a strong partnership with the EPA and commend him for his firm commitment to moving Michigan City forward.”

“The Park District of Highland Park is thankful to the U.S. EPA for the Great Lakes Shoreline Cities grant for pervious pavers at the district’s new Rosewood Beach,” said Highland Park District Executive Director Liza McElroy. “It was our goal to create Rosewood as a model beach for Great Lakes ecological best practices and the addition of pervious pavers to the project helped us achieve that goal.”

“The village of Wilmette is proud to partner with the U.S. EPA on this large scale project to protect and improve the Great Lakes Watershed,” said Wilmette Village President Robert T. Bielinski. “This project facilitates the planting of 50 parkway trees which will collectively help to restore stormwater benefits through interception and storage of rainfall. Further the project aligns with the Village’s ongoing commitment to protecting the Great Lakes Basin, in particular Lake Michigan, on which our community so heavily depends.”

“The City of Michigan City is very proud to be a recipient of a Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grant for the Wabash Street Green Infrastructure Project from the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer. “With our location on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, America's largest freshwater lake, Michigan City is blessed with wonderful dunes and countless recreational opportunities. Michigan City is a sportsman's paradise and a community home to a natural environment that is second to none. The funding for this project will assist Michigan City in continuing to improve the quality of life for our residents, businesses, and visitors through implementation of sustainable and attractive public infrastructure.”

“The city of Muskegon is thrilled to be selected to receive a GLRI Great Lakes Shoreline Cities grant,” said Muskegon Mayor Stephen J. Gawron. “The city lies along the shores of Muskegon Lake, which was formed by a rise in Lake Michigan water levels thousands of years ago. This wonderful natural resource has experienced the effects of the lumbering era and the industrial era, leaving the Lake contaminated and ruining much of the shoreline. Over the past several years, the community has worked tirelessly, with the assistance of many programs such as the GLRI grant, towards the goal of restoring the shoreline and improving the water quality. We believe the green infrastructure improvements that will be ma

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