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Huizenga Celebrates Completion of $6.6 Million Great Lakes Restoration Project in Muskegon, $2.9 Million Project in Detroit

Today, Congressman Bill Huizenga, Co-Chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, released the following statement after the EPA announced the completion of a $6.6 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Project in Muskegon as well as the completion of a $2.9 million project on the Detroit Riverwalk.

The Ryerson Creek Outfall is a 12-acre site located on the shores of Muskegon Lake that has been contaminated with petroleum, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This GLRI funded project successfully dredged 10,600 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, removed over 2,000 tons of mill debris, and covered a two-acre area with clean sand. Along the Detroit River, EPA dredged approximately 13,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment just downstream of the MacArthur Bridge that leads to Belle Isle. The EPA then isolated and stabilized the contaminated sediment with a “cap” made of clean material.

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative continues to successfully rehabilitate areas impacted by legacy pollution,” said Congressman Bill Huizenga, Co-Chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force. “Today’s announcement by the EPA marks another critical step forward in the efforts to restore Muskegon Lake and the Detroit riverfront.  The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has played a leading role in strengthening the ecology as well as the economy of communities across Michigan. The continued recovery of Muskegon Lake and the Detroit Riverwalk is not only great news for Muskegon and Detroit, it is great news for Michigan and the entire Great Lakes Region.”

“This is another great example of how effective this agency has been following the priorities of this Administration— the completion of these Great Lakes Legacy Act projects demonstrate that when federal, state, local, and industry partners work together collaboratively, we can solve complex environmental problems and get the job done,” said Region 5 Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager Kurt Thiede. “These cleanups in the Muskegon Lake and Detroit River AOCs will significantly advance our efforts to restore water quality in these two important waterways.”

In August, Grand Valley State University released new research detailing how efforts to restore Muskegon Lake through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative have led to $27.9 million in additional recreational spending per year, increased property values by $7.9 million, and increased the total number of visits to Muskegon Lake by 11%. Overall, the GVSU study found that restoring Muskegon Lake has led to a 4% increase in recreational spending in Muskegon County. This study was conducted prior to the successful clean up at the Ryerson Creek Outfall.

In addition to the Grand Valley State University Study, a 2018 study by the University of Michigan found that every $1 invested from the GLRI between 2010 and 2016 will generate $3.35 in additional economic activity through 2036. In cities such as Detroit and Buffalo that investment will yield a return of over $4 for every $1 invested according to the U of M Study.

The EPA provided $4.3 million through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) provided $1.2 million in cash and in-kind contributions for the cleanup of Muskegon Lake. This successful cleanup of legacy pollution utilizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative follows the removal of 50,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment in 2018 from the former Zephyr Oil Refinery in Muskegon Township.

The $2.9 million Detroit Riverwalk cleanup was funded through the GLRI’s cost-sharing partnership with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRFC). DRFC covered the sediment cap with stone rip rap, which stabilized an aging seawall and provided geophysical support for the future Detroit Riverwalk extension, which will connect Mt. Elliott and Gabriel Richards parks. EPA also collaborated with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, EGLE, and the City of Detroit to complete this project.

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