Great Lakes Restoration Initiate Plan II announced by Federal Agencies
A new blueprint has been issued by the Federal government today in order to restore and protect the Great Lakes and prevent them from adverse effects of climate change. The program also includes a five year plan, which is meant to speed up the process by finding solutions to problems like toxic pollution, invasive species and farm runoff.
The government says that this is the largest conservation program in the nation's history, involving 15 federal agencies and the eight Great Lakes states.
The plan, named Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Action Plan II, was unveiled by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy at a meeting of Great Lakes Mayors in Chicago.
The plan is similar to a four-year initiative that began in President Barack Obama's first term. The initiate has spent $1.6 billion on more than 2,100 restoration projects on the lakes' U.S. side. Now, this added initiative and action plan is expected to cost roughly the same.
McCarthy, who chairs the federal Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, has organized steps in the plan, which will help the federal agencies to protect and restore the habitat of the largest surface fresh water system in the world. The major focus will be on leaning up Great Lakes areas, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful and nuisance algal blooms and to protect water quality.
Intensive farming has filled rivers with fertilizer that produces vast algae blooms that affect the invasive species. The lakes with the biggest threats will be the most focused upon. The program will reduce phosphorus-fertilizer runoff by more than 1,400 tons. Wetland plants and trees would be selected for suitability to warmer temperatures.
Hedman, the EPA's regional administrator for the Great Lakes region, said, "In a very large ecosystem like the Great Lakes; it's difficult to measure progress on a yearly scale or a five-year scale. But we've been able to accelerate cleanups and move the process forward in ways that in the past were unimaginable".
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