First Grants for Trash-Free Great Lakes, More Funding for Restoration, Award for Recycling Raccoons

For Friday, Dec. 20, 2019


turned on red and blue merry christmas neon sign
Photo by Jameel Hassan on

1 – For the first time, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants are available to keep trash out of the Great Lakes. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking applications for $2 million for Great Lakes trash-free water projects to fund a dozen projects. 

Eligible projects include:

  • Great Lakes beach and shoreline cleanup projects
  • Great Lakes harbor and river cleanup projects, including the purchase of trash collection and removal equipment capable of operating in water.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 14. 


2- Congress this week increased funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. 

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition says the final 2020 federal budget released by the House and Senate increases funding for the initiative for the first time in 10 years, adding $20 million. The program also includes new investments in clean water and drinking water infrastructure programs.

The budget includes $320 million to restore to restore habitat, clean up toxic pollution and fight invasive species. 

The coalition says funding for traditional infrastructure projects have decreased, but are partially offset by increases to existing programs as well as new efforts to help communities deal with water infrastructure. 

That includes $25.4 million for grants to small and disadvantaged communities, and $28 million for sewer overflow and stormwater reuse municipal grants.

low angle photography of road with bright light
Photo by Leon Macapagal on


3 – Michigan’s recycling raccoons are award winners. 

The “Know It Before You Throw It” education campaign from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has been named Recycling Campaign of the Year by Waste Dive, a leading industry news publisher. 

The campaign is the state’s first-ever clean recycling initiative and was launched in June. 

It features the Recycling Raccoon Squad, a six-member team of “recycling ambassadors” who educate people about how clean recycling can reduce the amount of contaminated materials going into recycling bins. 

Through the campaign, the state has awarded 26 grants totaling close to $6 million. 

The funding aims to improve recycling infrastructure and support development of emerging and new marketplace opportunities for recyclable materials in 16 counties covering every region of the state.

recycling raccoons education campaign
Credit: EGLE


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR (now streaming). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes


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