I spent my Memorial Day weekend fishing, swimming and eating, but I didn’t enjoy one minute of it. I was just going through the motions, eager to get back to work so I could pore over the EPA’s list of 270 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant finalists released last week.
The grants cover $161 million — a third of the $475 million GLRI — worth of projects like beach monitoring, habitat restoration and environmental education. But the checks aren’t in the mail yet: finalists still have to submit one more non-competitive application before the projects are funded and work begins this summer.
Check out the complete list of finalists here, or download the list in Excel spreadsheet format here. If there’s anything that you’re especially happy to see — or that looks like a big waste of money — let us know in the comments.
The 270 finalists were trimmed from a list of 1,057 proposals requesting $946 million. The potential grant winners are grouped by state and group type below. Dollar amounts are rounded to the lowest 100,000.
Michigan: $63 million for 99 projects. That includes the biggest grant of the bunch: $10 million for Central Michigan University’s coastal wetlands monitoring project. Another $14.5 million could go to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment for 29 projects, which is more projects than any other group or agency.
Wisconsin: $29 million for 50 projects. Wisconsin’s biggest grant is for the Brown County Port and Solid Waste Department’s $2 million project to environmentally cap Renard Island. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is in line for $3.7 million to cover seven projects, including $1.6 million for habitat restoration on the Kinnickinnic River.
New York: $19.6 million for 33 projects. Clarkson University could get the second biggest overall grant: $6.5 million for a fish monitoring and surveillance program. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe could get $1.9 million for work on the Massena-Akwesasne Area of Concern and restoring lake sturgeon.
Ohio: $17.2 million for 28 projects, including two $1.5 million habitat restoration projects in the Cuyahoga Area of Concern led by the Cuyahoga County Engineer’s Office, and another $1.5 million habitat restoration project in the Ashtabula River Area of Concern led by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Illinois: $11.4 million for 25 projects, including $2 million for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Lakes Sediment Surveillance Program, and $300,000 for an Illinois Department of Natural Resources project called “Electric Barrier Defensive Removal of Asian Carp.”
Minnesota: $9.7 million for 14 projects, including $3.9 million for five University of Minnesota projects. Those five projects include moose habitat restoration and avian botulism management. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency could collect $1.7 million for three restoration projects on Amity Creek and the Flute Reed and St. Louis rivers.
Indiana: $6.3 million for 11 projects, including $1.3 million for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to restore habitat in the Grand Calumet Area of Concern. The University of Notre Dame could pick up nearly $1 million for the environmental DNA surveillance that’s been important in the Asian carp issue and another $1 million for preventing environmental invasions from the live animal trade.
Pennsylvania: $1.2 million for 4 projects, including $530,000 for Pennsylvania Sea Grant program for disposal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products
Groups from five states outside of the basin could also get a slice of the pie: $3 million could cover five projects from Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. The projects include a University of Iowa investigation of Chicago as a source of air toxics to Lake Michigan and Montclair State University’s work on ultrasound technology for Great Lakes ballast water treatment.
Schools: $47.3 million for 61 projects. Includes colleges and universities. After Central Michigan University (which has one $10 million project) and Clarkson University (one $6.5 million project), the University of Minnesota could collect the most money, with $3.9 million for five projects. The University of Wisconsin system is in line for $4.9 million, but that’s spread over four universities and their extension program.
Schools have the highest dollars-per-grant average, at around $775,000. But if you eliminate the $16.5 million tied up in the two Central Michigan and Clarkson grants as an outlier, the average drops to $522,000, which is third behind local governments and non-profits.
Local governments: $42.7 million for 68 projects. Includes county, city, and village governments, and governmental institutions like conservation districts and regional planning commissions. Grants average $627,000 each.
State governments: $37.5 million for 78 projects. Includes state health, education, agriculture, environmental, and natural resources departments. The biggest of these grants — $1.8 million for enhancing Wisconsin’s fish consumption advisory program — could go to the state’s Department of Health Services. Grants average $480,000 each.
Non-Profits: $27.8 million for 52 projects. Includes national groups like Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy and local groups like Groundwork Milwaukee and the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Grants average $534,000 each.
Tribes: $3.7 million for 8 projects. Grants to tribes have the lowest dollar average at around $470,000.
Editors note: Great Lakes Echo is a finalist for part of an $83,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to Michigan State University. It would support news coverage of the nearshore environment.