(Lakewood) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today 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.

Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to the EPA Administrator, was joined at Lakewood Park to announce the projects by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers, Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer, Toledo Environmental Services Commissioner Tim Murphy, and Cleveland Sustainability Chief Jenita McGowan.

“The economies of our coastal communities depend on the health of Lake Erie,” Davis told Newsradio WTAM 1100. “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.”

Marcy Kaptur & Cameron Davis

Kaptur explained to WTAM, “The Great Lakes are crucial to our region's economic future and the GLRI has been the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. Tens of millions of people rely on the water resource of the Great Lakes and the economic benefits of restoring our Great Lakes are unending.”

Mike Summers

The city of Lakewood is receiving $93,000 grant, and will match that to bring the total to $200,000 on projects to reduce rain water runoff and flooding. Mayor Summers told Newsradio WTAM 1100, “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 the $500,000 grant to improve storm water management at the city’s Lakeview Park. Mayor Ritenauer told WTAM, the improvements will reduce the amount of bacteria in storm water being directly discharged to Lake Erie and will reduce the frequency of bacteria-related beach closures.

Chase Ritenauer

Ritenauer says even greater investments are needed to improve the environmental quality of Lake Erie and to protect it from predators like Asian Carp. He contends environmental clean-up creates new jobs, and attracts economic development to the region.

The city of Toledo received a $250,000 grant. The city of Cleveland will use its $500,000 award to install green infrastructure to absorb rainfall that will reduce the discharge of untreated storm water near the city’s West Side Market to Lake Erie.

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.

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