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New Federal Funding Will Help The Nature Conservancy Protect and Restore the Great Lakes

The Nature Conservancy received notice earlier this week that the nonprofit conservation organization will receive more than $1 million over the next three years in federal funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to help restore, protect and maintain the health of the Great Lakes.


Lansing, MI | October 17, 2012

The Nature Conservancy received notice earlier this week that the nonprofit conservation organization will receive more than $1 million over the next three years in federal funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to help restore, protect and maintain the health of the Great Lakes.

The grant awards to the Conservancy will help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive plants in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania, and reduce sediment and pollution going into Lake Erie from agricultural landscapes. Specifically, the funding will be distributed as follows:

  • A new grant of $350,000 for mapping and eradicating invasive plant species in Ohio’s Ashtabula River Watershed. Control strategies will allow early detection and rapid response while targeting threats at their source. This effort is modeled after a similar project in the Grand River, where the Conservancy has led a team of county and state agencies and non-profits for the past two years in an extensive effort to control Phragmites, reed canary grass, Japanese knotweed and other non-native invasive plants that degrade habitats and waterways. The Nature Conservancy is the lead on the project, which also involves the Ashtabula Soil and Water Conservation District and ODNR’s Scenic Rivers program.
  • Funding of $414,765 will reduce nutrient loading in Ohio’s Upper Blanchard River Watershed, south of Findlay, through the use of two-stage ditches, buffer strips and cropping systems, which will filter nutrients and trap sediment. This project is expected to prevent 1,644 tons of sediment, 5,647 pounds of nitrogen, and 3,406 pounds of phosphorus from reaching Lake Erie during the first three years after the erosion control measures are implemented.
  • A grant award of $315,059 will help prevent the spread of Hydrilla and other aquatic invasive plants in New York, northwestern Pennsylvania and the eastern Ohio portion of the Great Lakes basin. The Nature Conservancy will also conduct monitoring surveys to determine the spread of these destructive plants and will use the data collected to plan, develop and promote local projects to control the spread of these invasive plants.

“We will put this money to good use for people and nature in the Great Lakes,” said Jim Howe, executive director The Nature Conservancy’s Central/Western New York Chapter. “This funding is critical to the conservation success of protecting the health and viability of the Great Lakes. Without this funding, we would face severe challenges to control the spread of these threats to the Great Lakes.”

A report by Anderson Economic Group commissioned by The Nature Conservancy earlier this year said that aquatic invasive species such as Hydrilla and Phragmites can cost hundreds of millions of dollars annually in control and maintenance costs to industries and individuals. Likewise, sediment and run-off of phosphorus and nitrogen from farm fields into streams and rivers harms the Great Lakes, causing algal blooms in Lake Erie that severely threaten the health and quality of the world’s largest freshwater system.

“Support like this from the federal government comes at a crucial time,” Howe said. “This gives us the boost we need to make changes now, before it’s too late.”

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to protect the most ecologically important lands and waters around the world for nature and people. Working with partners, The Nature Conservancy is helping to make the Great Lakes watershed among the most effectively managed ecosystems on Earth. For more information, visit the Conservancy's Great Lakes website.
 


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org

Contact information

Melissa Molenda
(517) 230-0818
mmolenda@tnc.org

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