Muskegon Lake restoration project receives $10 million stimulus boost
Federal stimulus dollars totaling $10 million were recently awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) for a major wetland and wildlife habitat restoration project on Muskegon Lake, Mich., along the east shoreline of Lake Michigan. Partnering with the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC), the GLC will coordinate the restoration of some 10,000 feet of shoreline “hardened” over several decades by broken concrete, foundry slag, sheet metal and other materials. The project will also remove more than 180,000 tons of degraded lake fill to improve aquatic habitat for fish and other species.
As with all programs receiving stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the project also includes a job creation commitment: it is projected to generate almost 40,000 labor hours to support 125 jobs, largely in engineering and construction. More than $20 million will be contributed by local sources through in-kind services, donations of land, and conservation easements. Additional economic goals of the project include increased property values and improved public access to the lake to generate more recreation and tourism opportunities.
The restoration project builds on more than a decade of research, assessments, planning and design work, as well as large-scale remediation and pollution control efforts on Muskegon Lake. The lake is identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of 43 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes for its legacy of toxic contaminants. Contact: Matt Doss, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ground broken for new large lock at the Soo after decades-long campaign
Groundbreaking on June 30 for the Soo Lock expansion project at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., was celebrated by the Great Lakes Commission as a welcome milestone for a project long supported by the Commission. On hand for the occasion were Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Terence Salt; Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow; Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak; Major General Meredith Temple, deputy commanding general of civil and emergency operations for the Corps of Engineers; and Lake Carriers’ Association President and Great Lakes Commissioner James Weakley, among many other officials. The expansion project will create a second large lock between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes to accommodate the largest classes of Great Lakes bulk carriers, including the 13 1,000-foot vessels that comprise over 70 percent of the U.S.-flag carrying capacity on the lakes. At present there is only one lock at the Soo, the Poe Lock, that is large enough for these vessels which operate largely in the iron ore, coal and stone trades.
The first phase of construction, building cofferdams to dewater the site, was enabled by a $17 million appropriation in the omnibus spending bill enacted by Congress and signed by the President earlier this year. The total project cost is estimated at over $500 million. Great Lakes Commission involvement in the Soo Locks project dates back to 1983 when the Commission first called for replacement of the outmoded Davis and Sabin locks with a new large lock. The GLC has played numerous supportive roles in ensuing years including development of a methodology, to allocate the non-federal cost share among the Great Lakes states and serving as the non-federal cost share sponsor on behalf of the states.
Contact: Dave Knight, email@example.com.
GLC wins EPA stimulus grant to replace diesel generators on two Great Lakes ships
Four 30-year old generators on two Great Lakes bulk carriers will be repowered next winter with cleaner, more fuel-efficient diesel engines with help from a $1.2 million federal stimulus grant recently awarded to the Great Lakes Commission. The grant will support a $1.6 million project to be carried out at a Wisconsin shipyard on two self-unloading vessels owned and operated by the American Steamship Co. of Williamsville, N.Y. The 900-horsepower diesel generator sets, two on each vessel, were original equipment on the 770-foot M/V St. Clair built in 1976 and the 1,000-foot M/V Indiana Harbor built in 1979. The units are used to supply electrical power to the vessels and their self-unloading conveyor systems.
By replacing the old generator sets – unregulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because of their age - with new models that comply with EPA Tier 2 emissions regulations, nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions will be reduced by 46 percent and carbon monoxide by 74 percent. This will result in some 9.1 tons less NOx over a year and 2.8 tons less CO. Significant reductions will also be realized in hydrocarbons and particulate matter, and greater fuel efficiency will save up to 8,500 gallons of fuel a year per engine. The repowering work, to be done during the winter lay-up season of 2010 at a yet-to-be-determined Wisconsin shipyard, will fulfill American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) objectives of job creation by generating over 12,000 labor hours, which translates to about 34 fulltime jobs. Also supported will be jobs involved in manufacturing and shipping the new diesel units. Contact: Dave Knight, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Launching GLIN Labs
The Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN: www.glin.net) will soon add a new component called GLIN “Labs,” a virtual center for research and development of information technology tools to enhance decisionmaking to improve the health of the Great Lakes.
With support from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, GLIN Labs will provide a network where beta applications will be designed, incubated, tested and launched, including the platform for GLINv2.0. The vision is that GLIN Labs will allow users – resource managers and technology innovators – to “mash up” multiple sets of data into applications that display information in ways that enable Great Lakes decisionmakers, businesses and consumers to make better choices regarding their behavior and implications for the lakes. The proposed work will also scope out the future path for GLIN and engage Great Lakes resource managers and a broader GLIN user community in this process. An introductory public webinar will be held on Sept. 1, 2009, at 2 p.m. EDT. Webinar details will be posted to labs.glin.net. Contact: Christine Manninen, email@example.com.
Great Lakes Basin Program sediment control grants announced
Eleven grants totaling almost $300,000 were recently announced by the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control. The awards went to applicants in six of the eight Great Lakes states and were selected by the Great Lakes Commission’s Sediment Task Force from 84 applications received during this year’s application cycle. Over $2 million was requested by 84 applicants but budget constraints limited total funding.
Basin Program grant awards included $30,000 to the Ullr Mountain Gully Erosion and Sediment Control Project in Grand Marais, Minn.; $35,000 to the Menomonee River Erosion Control Project in Milwaukee, Wis.; $30,000 to the Silver Creek Super Project in Grayling, Mich.; $12,459 to the St. Joseph River Watershed Soil Erosion/Sediment Control Project in Hillsdale, Mich.; $29, 891 to research on “Stabilizing Nutrient-Rich Cropland with Cover Crops and Targeted Zone-Tillage” by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.; $30,000 to the “Cover it Green” project in Norwalk, Ohio; $10,500 to Lorain County Erosion and Sediment Control in Elyria, Ohio; $30,000 to Cascade Creek Watershed Improvements in Erie, Pa.; $30,000 to Eighteenmile Creek Streambank Restoration and Erosion Control in East Aurora, N.Y.; $30,000 to the Genesee River Watershed Soil Erosion Control Project in Rochester, N.Y.; and $24,200 to the St. Lawrence and Franklin County Ag Soil Erosion Sediment project in Canton, N.Y. Contact: Gary Overmier, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Lakes Commission welcomes new fellow, interns
From left to right are Sarah-Émilie Hébert-Marcoux, Dave Thoman,
Anjali Patel, and Leslie Garrison. Not pictured: Jeff Wang.
Some new faces at the Great Lakes Commission include a new Québec-sponsored intern, new Sea Grant fellow, and three summer interns.
Sarah-Émilie Hébert-Marcoux, of Québec City is the 2009-10 Québec intern at the Commission. Each year Québec government sponsors a GLC internship to provide Québec graduate students experience in international policy and resource management. Sarah-Émilie holds a bachelor's degree from Laval Univerity in international studies and modern languages and is close to completing a master's degree in biology and international ecology at the University of Sherbrooke. Her studies have included agricultural field work in Panama. Her focus at the Commission will be on the habitat priority planning tool and related non-point source pollution issues.
Recently named as the 2009-10 Michigan Sea Grant Fellow at the Commission was Anjali Patel. Anjali is a 2008 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and has worked as Community Protection Director for the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Ann Arbor. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology and environmental studies from Case Western Reserve University, and a masters of science degree in environmental policy from Drexel University. Her experience includes clerking at a Washington, D.C. law firm. While at the GLC Anjali will be supporting the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species, working in energy-related issue areas and on advocacy efforts.
The Commission is currently hosting three summer interns. Leslie Garrison is working with the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative primarily on offshore and transmission workgroup tasks. Leslie is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan LS&A/SNRE program with a bachelor's degree in environmental policy. While completing her degree, she served as a Great Lakes Consultant for Bluewater Wind, LLC (a Hoboken, NJ-based company) where she conducted research regarding offshore wind potential with a focus on the Great Lakes region, prepared feasibility reports for internal and government analysis, and networked with Great Lakes stakeholders to explore offshore wind potential in the region.
Dave Thoman is a graduate student in the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and worked as a legislative intern in the Kansas State Legislature. While at the Commission, Dave is specializing in the climate change issue area.
Shangqing “Jeff” Wang is supporting the Commission’s MiCorps project and related data monitoring and integration efforts. Jeff holds a bachelor of science degree from the International School of Software at Wuhan University in China and has most recently been studying at Eastern Michigan University.