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TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN - The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, based in Peshawbestown, Michigan, has received funds from the US Environmental Protection Agency for watersheds.
Lake Michigan Shoreline
The funds are part of funds distributed by the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday to fund Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects in Northern Michigan totaling $1.1 million.
The projects will help to restore the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Grand Traverse Band watersheds and put people back to work, using a conservation corps model to hire unemployed workers to improve habitat and clean up shoreline.
The National Park Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs projects were selected from 44 proposals totaling almost $25 million, which were submitted in response to a $6 million challenge that EPA issued in August to encourage federal agencies to sign up unemployed workers to implement restoration projects in federally-protected areas, on tribal lands and in Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin. To qualify for funding, each project is required to provide jobs for at least 20 unemployed people.
"The tremendous response to EPA's challenge underscores the large backlog of Great Lakes restoration projects that are ready to be implemented and the strong support that exists for using a conservation corps model to get the job done," said Susan Hedman, EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager, today at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. "This week, EPA is announcing a total of eight restoration projects worth $6.6 million as part of this challenge. Each project will produce immediate, direct ecological benefits and will help to put unemployed people back to work."
The National Park Service will receive $891,225 to expand wetland restoration work in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Bureau of Indian Affairs will receive $255,365 to work with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians on watershed restoration - part of $876,810 awarded to Bureau of Indian Affairs to allow it to expand its work with tribal governments to complete Great Lakes restoration projects in Indian country.
Other tribes that will participate in the project are the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
"The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians is very pleased to announce that we have received $255,365 to be utilized over 2 years. We will be using the award to employ 4-5 individuals for 'on the ground' field work," said Tribal Chair Derek J. Bailey. "The work crew will be supervised by a Grand Traverse Band/Natural Resources Conservation Service collaboratively funded position. Work will include removing woody debris, planting grasses and shrubs, river shoreline restoration, and hands on placement of bank stabilization materials."
"Today marks a collaborative effort amongst governments with the focus on our natural environment," Bailey commented to the Native News Network. "These awards work in two ways: restorative efforts of our shorelines and waterways, and also provides employment opportunities for those not working. I have also asked that, through on the job training and development of those skills, that we look for further grants that keeps people working."
Selected projects will advance the goals and objectives of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan, developed by EPA with 15 other federal agencies in 2010. The action plan, which covers FY 2010 through 2014, ensures accountability by including measures of progress and benchmarks for success over the next three years. It calls for aggressive efforts to address five urgent priority "Focus Areas":
photo credit National Parks Service/Terry Phipps
posted October 7, 2011 6:00 am edt
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