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Northern Ohio receives four green infrastructure grants

Lakewood, Ohio — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the award of four Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants totaling more than $1.3 million in northern Ohio to fund green infrastructure projects to improve water quality in Lake Erie.

“The economies of our coastal communities depend on the health of Lake Erie,” said Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to the EPA Administrator. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects we’re announcing today will help, piece by piece, to reduce harmful algae, make our coasts more resilient in the face of climate change and save money.”

The city of Lakewood will use a $107,500 grant to install bioretention planters in Madison Park. The project will reduce polluted stormwater runoff by an estimated 403,769 gallons annually and also reduce overflows from the city’s combined sewer system to Lake Erie.

“This grant helps us address a very important piece of our environment here in Lakewood and northern Ohio,” said Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers. “We understand that Lake Erie starts at our roof tops, sidewalks, and streets and that water eventually makes it to the lake. We need to do a better job in managing that runoff and this project allows us to do that in a highly visible way to educate our citizens of the job ahead.”

The city of Lorain will use a $250,000 grant to improve stormwater management at the city’s Lakeview Park. The improvements will reduce the amount of bacteria in stormwater being directly discharged to Lake Erie and will reduce the frequency of bacteria-related beach closures.

“The city of Lorain will construct a ‘green’ storm water treatment system at the city’s Lakeview Park, located on Lake Erie,” said Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer. “This new system, which will be located at the west end of Lakeview Beach, consists of a wetland sand filter approximately 30 feet wide and 120 feet long, that will work in conjunction with a disinfection-based pretreatment device. The new system will reduce bacteria (E coli) in stormwater being directly discharged to Lake Erie at Lakeview Beach with the goal of reducing the frequency of bacteria-related beach closures.”

The city of Toledo will use a $500,000 grant to install bioswales (landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water) and rain gardens along the city’s Silver Creek watershed and retrofit the city’s Cullen Park with sand filters and vernal ponds. This project will prevent an estimated 645,000 gallons of untreated sediment and stormwater from discharging to Lake Erie.

“Implementing green infrastructure projects that will provide retention capacity and reduce the amount of untreated stormwater being discharged in the Maumee River/Bay watershed and the western basin of Lake Erie is a high priority for the city of Toledo,” said Environmental Services Commissioner Tim Murphy. “In order for all of the communities in the western basin to understand how they can improve the water quality in our watershed, the city of Toledo must take a leadership position and demonstrate the effectiveness of green infrastructure. This grant provides us that opportunity.”

The city of Cleveland will use a $500,000 grant to install green infrastructure to absorb rainfall that will reduce the discharge of untreated stormwater near the city’s West Side Market to Lake Erie.

“The green infrastructure grant will move Cleveland toward becoming a green city on a blue lake,” said Cleveland Sustainability Chief Jenita McGowan. “By reconstructing the West Side Market parking lot with permeable pavers, we are showcasing best practices in green infrastructure in a way that can serve as an educational tool for residents and visitors alike to our iconic public market. By capturing stormwater run-off on site, we are protecting Lake Erie while at the same time beautifying an important public place.”

Lakewood, Lorain, Toledo, and Cleveland, are among 16 cities to receive funding in the initial round of EPA’s new GLRI Shoreline Cities grant program. These grants can be used to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of green infrastructure projects on public property. Green infrastructure projects use vegetation, soil, and natural processes to hold and filter stormwater and melting snow to prevent flooding and to prevent contamination from reaching surface water and groundwater resources. The projects in the 16 cities include rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, porous pavement, greenways, constructed wetlands, stormwater tree trenches and other green infrastructure measures designed to improve water quality in the Great Lakes basin.

To find more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative or Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure grants, visit www.glri.us.