Contact Us


News Releases from Region 5


Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding Improves Water Quality at Rochester Area Beaches

Release Date: 07/02/2013
Contact Information: Peter Cassell, 312-886-6234,

No. 13-OPA023

CHICAGO – Great Lakes beaches were open 94 percent of the time last summer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 BEACH report. EPA’s Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Report is available at:

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is improving water quality so that people can enjoy more days at Rochester area beaches,” said Susan Hedman, EPA’s Regional Administrator / Great Lakes National Program Manager. “Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded projects make beaches safer by eliminating sources of harmful contamination and by monitoring water quality to protect beachgoers.”

The major sources of contamination that affect Great Lakes beaches are sewer system overflows, stormwater runoff and waste from boats, septic systems, and wildlife.

Since 2010, six Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded projects, totaling more than $1.8 million, have been implemented to improve water quality at Rochester area beaches:

Project TitleRecipientYearFunding AmountProject Description
Implementation of Rapid Test Methods at Lake Ontario BeachesHealth Research Inc.2010$222,867 This project will improve the effectiveness of monitoring fecal pollution by local health departments at two urban Lake Ontario beaches. Through this project the local laboratory will be able to perform water quality testing using two different rapid detection methods, which in conjunction with traditional bacterial methods (which take 24 hours for results) will allow the local beach manager to quickly, and more accurately make decisions on opening and closing bathing beaches, thereby protecting the bathing public.
Sanitary Surveys and Website for Beach Water Quality InformationHealth Research Inc.2010$850,000 Specifically, 38 bathing beach sanitary surveys will be conducted on the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie. Site assessments will be performed to identify sources of pollution. Results will be used to direct remediation efforts to improve water quality, reduce bather exposure to pollution, and prevent potential illness. A publicly accessible web-based system with real-time water quality information for all Great Lakes beaches will also be developed.
Sanitary Surveys: Lake Erie/Lake Ontario/Niagara River NY State ParksNew York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation2010$250,000 Sanitary surveys will be conducted at seven beaches located on Lake Erie, western Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River. The sanitary surveys will identify hydrological conditions, primary pollutants and their source locations. Information generated will be used to improve understanding of contamination problems and implement steps toward beach remediation.
Braddock Bay RestorationDept. of Commerce-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin.2012$350,000 Located in the Rochester Embayment AOC this restoration project will reduce invasive cattail densities, restore natural wetland function in a 630 acre portion of Braddock Bay through the development of 6,000 linear feet of meandering channels and up to 2 acres of open water potholes.
Rochester Embayment River Mouth ProtectionDept. of Commerce-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin.2012$161,237 Protection of a key 60 acre parcel near the confluence of Salmon and West creeks, leading into the mouth of Braddock Bay.
Rochester Wetlands ProjectU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Direct Implementation2012$40,000 This assessment will determine whether wetlands within, and adjacent to, the REAOC have declined either in size or condition. The geographic scope of this study is defined as the entire REAOC. Sections of at least 20 wetlands that have been mapped by federal and state agencies are within this geographic area. These wetlands comprise the set of potential subject wetlands for this assessment.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched at the start of President Obama’s first term to coordinate the work of 16 federal agencies to protect and restore the Great Lakes. More information about the Initiative, including an interactive project map, is available at