Kaptur hails new funding to combat algal blooms

TOLEDO – Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio 9), ranking member on the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee, Thursday, welcomed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision to release an additional $3.1 million in federal funding to combat toxic algae in Lake Erie. The funding comes on top of $8.6 million that was disbursed to state agencies in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana last October.

“The conditions that caused the Toledo water crisis last August have not changed materially,” Kaptur said. “The algae season is over, but the threat remains, so we have to be vigilant about protecting our community and saving Lake Erie.”

U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) called the algal blooms in Lake Erie “an environmental crisis that deserves our attention … I’m happy to see this additional funding made available.”

The USEPA said it will direct $3.1 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to three other federal agencies and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to expand efforts to reduce phosphorus runoff into Lake Erie. The EPA said it was making the funding available now so that priority projects can be implemented prior to the 2015 algae season.

The new grantees include:

  1. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration ($1 million) and the U.S. Geological Survey ($900,000) to improve harmful algal bloom forecasting and water quality testing.
  2. The Natural Resources and Conservation Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately $1 million to encourage farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin to adopt conservation practices; and,
  3. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (approximately $197,000) to improve nutrient management on Michigan farms.

 

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