In the 1980s, the United States and Canada created a list of the 43 most environmentally degraded rivers, harbors, and lakes in the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA) is the United States' mechanism for accelerating sediment cleanups in these Areas of Concern (AOCs).
As of 2018, the GLLA program has leveraged $242 million of nonfederal funds matched with $344 million from EPA to clean up 4.1 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment through 21 different remediation projects. More than 100 acres of upland, shoreline, and underwater habitat have been restored as part of the sediment cleanups, giving ecosystems a boost.
GLLA projects provide significant economic, social, and environmental benefits in AOCs. In fact, restoration yields $2-3 for every $1 spent through increased property values, reduced municipality costs, and the direct economic benefits of tourism, recreation, and fishing.
Visit www.epa.gov/great-lakes-legacy-act and click on How to Apply for Funding to learn about becoming a partner.
"You all have a common objective to get the work done right, to get it done quickly, and to get it done cost effectively.
And with the government contributing a substantial amount for the project, it seems to catalyze the groups to move quickly,
to cooperate, and to act very collaboratively... any time you speed up the process you save money.
- John Morris, Honeywell International, Inc.
21 Great Lakes Legacy Act Cleanups Completed
"We could achieve our remediation goals with federal cost-share money that we did not have available in our own state funding…
We can perform more robust cleanups and achieve great things with these partnerships."
- Sara Pearson, Michigan DEQ