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$2.1 Million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative shoreline project lays groundwork for taking White Lake off Area of Concern list

Release Date: 07/20/2011
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov

For Immediate Release
No. 11-OPA062

(CHICAGO – July 20, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, working with the state of Michigan, today announced a new restoration effort for the shoreline of White Lake, near Muskegon. The $2.1 million investment, part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), will ultimately result in the lake being taken off a binational list of U.S.-Canada "Areas of Concern" or AOCs. White Lake flows into Lake Michigan via the White River.

The White Lake project will restore fish and wildlife habitat at seven public and private sites along the lakeshore. Field work for the project is now under way and will be completed in 2012. GLRI funding for this work was awarded in 2010 to the Muskegon Conservation District, in partnership with the White Lake Public Advisory Council. The Conservation District will oversee the work, which will be performed by local firms.

"This project will help achieve GLRI goals, revitalize the community and move us closer to taking this Area of Concern off the binational cleanup list," said Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to the EPA Administrator. "But we can't stop here. We’re looking for other partners to identify matching funds so we can accelerate cleanups in other AOCs in Michigan and around the basin."

Contaminated sediment removal projects in 2002 and 2003 set the stage for the new habitat work and eventual "de-listing" of the White Lake AOC. In 2002, under Michigan oversight, 92,000 cubic yards of sediment were removed from Tannery Bay on White Lake’s northeastern shore. In 2003, the Occidental Chemical Corp., removed 10,500 cubic yards of sediment from the lake near Dowies Point.

The GLRI habitat grant will be used to restore 5,158 feet of shoreline, to create 35 acres of wetland and aquatic habitat, to reconnect and restore 8 acres of riparian and upland habitat corridors, and to remove 27,134 cubic yards of shoreline debris—all necessary steps in the AOC de-listing process.

See more information on the White Lake Area of Concern at http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/aoc/whtlake.html. See more information on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at http://greatlakesrestoration.us.