Muskegon Lake clean-up would be impacted by proposed funding cut

Great Lakes restoration initiative sees cuts

MUSKEGON, MICH. -

The Trump Administration's plans to dramatically cut funding for Great Lakes restoration is creating concern among those working to get Muskegon Lake removed from the Great Lakes Areas of Concern list.

Money from the Great Lakes Restoration budget funds work to restore wetlands and improve water quality across the Upper Midwest.

The current budget is about $300 million dollars per year The White house is proposing to cut that number down to $10 million per year.  

Muskegon Lake and its tributaries have contaminated sediments. It's why the lake remains on the Great Lakes Areas of Concern list.

Intensive remediation work continues in Muskegon with efforts often lead by the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission.

Kathy Evans says the federal government has a list of work that needs to be completed to achieve de-listing.

"We need the funding in FY '18 to do the work," said Evans.

Project for this summer will continue because those were in the 2017 budget. If published reports are true the 97 percent cut to the Great Lakes Restoration's 2018 budget would likely mean very few dollars to clean Muskegon Lake in 2018.

"How in the world are we going to complete the work that we need to do to de-list Muskegon Lake as one of the Great Lakes Areas of Concern," said Evans. "We need that funding." 

A major 2018 project to add green infrastructure to clean storm water was planned.

"Storm water run off that has pollutants in it rather than letting that dirty water run into a pipe straight into the lake," said Evans.

"Right now there is no treatment for it at all, it just runs off parking lots and roads."

Two state representatives from Muskegon County are reacting to the possible cut. 

"Well I am not in favor of that whatsoever, that was something as soon as I found out about it I was like this is not what we need here in Michigan, and specifically here in Muskegon," said Terry J. Sabo, A Muskegon County Democrat who represents the 92nd district.

"I saw that, and was not happy about it, I'm going to call my Congressman," said Holly Hughes, a Muskegon County Republic who represents the 91st district.  "It has made a huge difference in restoring wetlands and making Pure Michigan work."

Previous presidents have suggested big cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative only to have Congress soften the reduction.

This summer remediation projects will resume along the Bear creek which drains into Muskegon Lake, and the lower Muskegon River.

Also ponds at Veteran's Memorial Park will be reconnected to the Muskegon River. 

 

© 2017 WZZM-TV


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