Public comment is being taken now on the second phase of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is a federal program to improve the health of the lakes. The initiative has been operating for four years. The new draft plan covers fiscal years 2015 through 2019.
First-phase projects focused on cleaning up toxic pollution, preventing the introduction or spread of invasive species, preventing near-shore water pollution from storm water runoff, and restoring coastal wetlands and habitat.
In the Rochester area, GLRI funding has supported a range of activity. For example, Monroe County worked with the US Geological Survey to develop a new model for determining when to close the county's public beaches to swimming.
And a University of Rochester researcher is leading a study of sturgeon tissue that will help gauge pollution levels in the Genesee River and the Rochester Embayment.
The second phase will emphasize the same types of efforts, but projects will be prioritized based on need. Also considered will be a project's ability to withstand the effects of climate change, as well as its ability to mitigate anticipated climate shifts.
The draft plan is available at http://glri.us/