Michigan Sea Grant gains federal dollars


University of Michigan-based Michigan Sea Grant was given more than $1.5 million from the federal government to lead two Great Lakes restoration projects that will restore native fish habitat and help clean up marinas across the region.

Michigan Sea Grant also will assist on five federally funded projects focused on matters that include endangered fish, beach contamination, sound boating practices and marina operations, and water pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency grants are part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a $475 million federal commitment to improve environmental quality in the Great Lakes region.

"For years, we've used the Great Lakes as dumping grounds - letting pollution from farm fields, sewers and factories flow into the lakes, overharvesting fish and building on valuable wetlands," said Jim Diana, a University of Michigan professor of fisheries and director of Michigan Sea Grant, which is based at the university's School of Natural Resources and Environment.

"This initiative is a major turning point for the Great Lakes. We now have some significant funding, which enables us to tackle these issues in a comprehensive, coordinated way," he added.