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Sixth Graders Wrap up Great Lakes Legacy Act Ashtabula River Habitat Project with Native Plants

Release Date: 05/07/2010
Contact Information: Karen Thompson, 312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NO.10-OPA50

(Chicago – May 7, 2010) -- Sixth graders from Lakeside Intermediate School’s After School Discovery program put the finishing touches on the Ashtabula River Legacy Act habitat project today by planting native seedlings on the 5 and 1/2 slip peninsula.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its habitat project partners Ohio EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ashtabula River Cooperation Group II, Ashtabula Port Authority and Norfolk Southern Corp., along with national, state and local political officials, celebrated Great Lakes Legacy Act accomplishments today at Raoul’s Boathouse and on the peninsula.

“The Great Lakes Legacy Act habitat project is not a one-time event but a long-term investment in the Ashtabula River, Lake Erie and all of the Great Lakes,” said Cameron Davis, EPA senior advisor to Administrator Lisa P. Jackson on the Great Lakes. “By combining remediation, habitat restoration and environmental education we lay the groundwork for environmental stewardship for generations to come.”

In 2007, 500,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment were removed from the Ashtabula River, making it one of the largest of the Great Lakes Legacy Act funded projects at $60 million.

“It’s a pleasure to celebrate the completion of this significant restoration project,” said Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski. “The immense amount of cleanup work and the millions of dollars spent on this long-term project just goes to show that when you have cooperation between the right people, anything is possible.

Over the past four months, EPA has visited the After School Discovery class and worked with the youth on soil testing, growing native plants from seed and collecting live tree branches, culminating in today’s planting at the site.

The project will provide high-quality habitat for fish spawning, waterfowl and other aquatic organisms, and involves placement of fish shelves along the eastern edge of the river.

The Great Lakes Legacy Act is a federal program targeted at cleaning up contaminated sediment in officially designated Areas of Concern around the U.S. shores of the Great Lakes. The GLLA is now part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a $475 million effort to begin restoring and protecting the Great Lakes. GLLA projects are currently under way in Hammond and East Chicago, Ind; Toledo, Ohio; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich; and Duluth, Minn.

More information about the Ashtabula River cleanup and the Great Lakes Legacy Act is available at: http://www.epa.gov/glla/ashtabula.


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