EPA, through the Great Lakes National Program Office, is seeking applications from a diverse group of participants and partnerships to support the goals of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The RFP is available online at http://epa.gov/greatlakes/fund/2010rfp01.
“We’re asking for innovative, far reaching, community-based ideas to drive the most aggressive Great Lakes protection effort in decades,” said Jackson. “President Obama and Congress have made clear that there is no time to lose in restoring the water bodies that play a central role in the health, environment, and economies of the Great Lakes communities. This is an unprecedented opportunity for community groups, NGOs and others to partner with the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force to improve the quality of life for millions and serve Great Lakes communities most vulnerable to environmental challenges.”
Obama has made restoring the Great Lakes a national priority. In February 2009, he proposed $475 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an unprecedented investment in the nation’s largest fresh surface water ecosystem. Congress approved that funding level and Obama signed it into law in October. The majority of EPA’s grant funding is included in the RFP; funding through other agencies will be announced separately.
The RFP supports actions to carry out portions of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that is coordinated through the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force. The task force, chaired and coordinated by EPA, was created in May of 2004 under a presidential executive order and is responsible for implementing federal efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes.
The Task Force held 18 meetings with the public, states, tribes and municipalities in eight states over the summer seeking input on Great Lakes restoration priorities for the president’s Initiative. Proposals and funding will go to projects that will have the most impact on the Great Lakes’ health.
Proposals should focus on projects in the five priority areas the Task Force has identified as vital for restoring the Great Lakes. They are:
- Toxic substances and areas of concern
- Invasive species
- Near-shore health and non-point source pollution
- Habitat and wildlife protection
- Accountability, education, monitoring, evaluation, communication and partnerships.