MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Muskegon Lake is on a restoration fast track and could be removed from a list of toxic hotspots on the Great Lakes by 2019.
The cleaning up includes a project that just finished at the Grand Trunk property, where cement, slab wood, and industrial fill was removed. Now native plants are growing and a two mile stretch of the lake is better for fish and wildlife.
If Muskegon Lake is going to be removed from the list of Great Lakes toxic hotspots by 2019, a dozen more projects on the lake need to be completed. Local environmental leaders like Kathy Evans say there's no time to stop and celebrate the work that's finished on Muskegon Lake because 2019 is not that far off.
Money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is paying for most of the restoration work, money U.S. Senator Carl Levin helped secure.
RELATED: White Lake no longer toxic
North of Muskegon, the communities of Montague and Whitehall are excited because White Lake will soon be delisted as a toxic hotspot--this after years of removing toxic sediment from the lake. Those contaminants were put there by a now closed chemical plant and tannery.
"All the scientific work, the work on the ground is done. We are in that governmental approval process. It is hard to say when that is going to happen, we hope in the next couple of months," said Jon Allan, director of Michigan's Office of the Great Lakes.
Muskegon leaders say if federal dollars continue to be directed towards their efforts on Muskegon Lake, a similar success will be celebrated in 2019.
White Lake is said to cleaned up and will be removed as an area of concern in the eyes of the Environmental Protection Agency. While the state agencies have signed off on the delisting process, it could be officially off the list this fall.
One simple step residents can all make to protect fresh water in West Michigan is to keep pollutants like law fertilizer, pet waste, and soaps used to wash your car from going into storm drains. Anything that goes down a storm drain eventually make it to a river or lake.