GRE AT L AKES AND OHIO RIVER DIVISION
PHOTO BY USACE BUFFALO DISTRICT
Braddock Bay, New York.
strides in cleaning up areas of concern (AOCs), stopping the spread of invasive species, and restoring fish and wildlife habitat throughout the Great Lakes watershed. The partnerships between federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the program, have been the key to making this program effective in delivering results across the Great Lakes. Among several other worthwhile outcomes, these partnerships have led to the elimination of numerous beneficial-use impairments at Great Lakes AOCs, which will ultimately result in the delisting of AOCs across the lakes. “Thanks to the funding provided by GLRI, the Corps of Engineers can plan, design, and construct a wide range of restoration projects to address all five focus areas of the initiative. But GLRI not only represents a great resource for the Great Lakes, it also represents an incredibly powerful collaborative effort with our state and nonfederal partners, which helps us deliver successful projects to leave positive, lasting impacts on the region for generations to come,” said Lt. Col. Eli Adams, Buffalo District commander.
GREAT LAKES RESTORATION INITIATIVE FOCUS AREAS INCLUDE: FOCUS AREA 1: Toxic substances and AOCs includes remediation and restoration of the most polluted areas of the Great Lakes, and characterizing and assessing risks that emerging contaminants may pose to the Great Lakes. FOCUS AREA 2: Invasive species includes preventing new invasive species’ introductions to the Great Lakes ecosystem and controlling existing invasive species populations, including preventing the establishment of self-sustaining populations of Asian carp. FOCUS AREA 3: Nonpoint source pollution impacts on nearshore health focuses on high-priority watershed and polluted runoff reductions from urban, suburban, and agricultural sources, including activities to reduce nutrient runoff to prevent harmful and nuisance algal blooms. 24
FOCUS AREA 4: Habitats and species includes protecting, restoring, and enhancing habitat and populations of native fish and wildlife species in the Great Lakes basin. FOCUS AREA 5: Foundations for future restoration actions includes conducting comprehensive science programs and projects, assessing the overall health of the Great Lakes, and educating the next generation about the Great Lakes ecosystem. To accomplish projects addressed by these focus areas, USACE leverages existing authorities and regional Great Lakes’ programs. The Great Lakes Fishery & Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) program is being used to plan, design, and construct projects to restore wetlands, provide fishery connectivity to the Great Lakes, and control sea lamprey and other aquatic nuisance species. The Great Lakes Remedial Action Plan (RAP) program is being used to help states and local partners plan and design actions to clean up and delist AOCs, while the USACE Regional Sediment Management (RSM) program is being used to encourage the beneficial use of dredged material to create coastal wetlands and to help state and local entities evaluate and compare alternatives for soil conservation and nonpoint source pollution prevention. From the start of the program through fiscal year 2020, USACE has received more than $446 million in GLRI funding. The vast majority of these funds go directly toward planning, design, and construction of projects. “The GLRI is an incredible success story with tremendous and widespread support. This initiative has allowed the Corps of Engineers to utilize our expertise in multi-agency water resources planning and execution while showcasing our capabilities to multiple federal, state, and tribal entities,” said Great Lakes Program Manager Carl Platz. “It’s truly inspiring to see how the Great Lakes ecosystem is benefitting from the partnerships that continue to develop, as we all work together to achieve common goals.” More information on USACE’s involvement in the GLRI program can be found at: www.lrd.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/ Great-Lakes-Restoration-Initiative-GLRI/. n