WASHINGTON - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will receive $5.2 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help continue the cleanup of contaminated sediment from industrial waste in the Manistique River, U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow announced.
The funding for the cleanup effort is part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a multi-agency program launched by President Obama in 2009 that strategically targets the most significant problems in the Great Lakes ecosystem. Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality will use the $5.2 million federal grant to develop and implement measures to remediate poly-chlorinated biphenyls contamination in the Manistique River.
"Restoring the Great Lakes and the rivers flowing into them is of immense importance to the health and prosperity of millions in Michigan and beyond," Levin said. "We've already made great progress in restoring the Manistique River, and this grant will ensure that vital work can continue."
"Michigan is home to thousands of miles of coastline and rivers that attract tourists from across the country, contributing billions to our economy," said Stabenow. "This major investment, made possible through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, will go a long way to continue cleaning up pollution and conserve the beautiful natural resources in the Manistique watershed for generations to come."
The Manistique River has been listed as an Area of Concern since 1987 due to repeated contamination from PCBs, oils and combined sewer overflows. In addition, debris and sawdust from more than a century of logging and milling in the region have degraded the Manistique River watershed. As a result, over the years there have been restrictions on dredging and fish and wildlife consumption, as well as beach closings.
When completed, the project is expected to significantly reduce the PCB levels in the Manistique River channel and harbor. With successful remediation, dredging restrictions will be removed and fish PCB concentrations will return to safe levels. Meeting these two objectives will lead to the removal of the remaining Beneficial Use Impairments that were identified in 1987 for the Manistique River Area of Concern.
NOAA also awarded the Department of Environmental Quality a $1 million grant in August to assist with the cleanup of the Manistique River.