The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is seeking applications under a newly developed Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant program focused on keeping trash out of the Great Lakes. Approximately $2 million is available through the Trash-Free Great Lakes program to fund up to 12 projects. The deadline for applications is February 14, 2020.
"Combatting freshwater and marine litter—and preventing trash from reaching our waterways in the first place—is one of EPA's highest priorities," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a statement. "Through the Trash-Free Great Lakes Grant Program, EPA will support communities in cleaning up beaches and waterways so that the Great Lakes watershed will continue to provide habitat for wildlife as well as drinking water and recreation for the tens of millions of people it serves for generations to come."
The trash-free water projects EPA selects will support the larger effort to restore and protect the Great Lakes through the GLRI. In October, Wheeler announced the GLRI Action Plan III, an aggressive plan that will guide Great Lakes restoration and protection activities by EPA and its many partners over the next five years.
“This first-of-its-kind grant program will once again rely upon the collaboration and strong partnerships which have fueled progress and so many successes under the GLRI,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Cathy Stepp in a statement. "This funding will help communities across the Great Lakes basin ensure that their beaches, shorelines and waterways are trash free.”
Eligible projects include:
- Great Lakes beach and shoreline cleanup projects, which could include funding for single entities to organize cleanups in multiple communities. The maximum grant amount is $300,000 per project.
- Great Lakes harbor and river cleanup projects, which could include the purchase of trash collection and removal equipment capable of operating in water. The maximum grant amount is $500,000 per project.
State agencies, federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia, any agency or instrumentality of local governments, nonprofit organizations, interstate agencies and colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the grants.
EPA will host a webinar on January 7, 2020, at 1 p.m. CT to provide additional information and answer questions.