WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the award of four Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants totaling more than $1.3 million in northern Ohio and a $500,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the City of Buffalo to fund green infrastructure projects to improve water quality in Lake Erie, according to a press release.

Cameron Davis, senior advisor to the EPA administrator for the Great Lakes, was joined by Congressmember Brian Higgins and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown at the offices of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to announce the Buffalo projects, noted the release, and for the Ohio projects’ announcement Davis was joined at Lakewood Park by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers, Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer, Toledo Environmental Services Commissioner Tim Murphy and Cleveland Sustainability Chief Jenita McGowan.

Read more on EPA here.

The City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Sewer Authority will use the $500,000 EPA grant, along with $500,000 in funding from Empire State Development to construct green infrastructure projects along a one mile section of Niagara Street, including the installation of porous asphalt, stormwater planters, rain gardens and the reduction of impervious pavements, reported the release.

According to the release, the cities of Lakewood, Lorain, Toledo and Cleveland will use the grants in the following ways: The city of Lakewood will use the $107,500 grant to install bioretention planters in Madison Park to reduce polluted stormwater runoff by an estimated 403,769 gallons annually and reduce overflows from the city’s combined sewer system to Lake Erie; the city of Lorain will use the $250,000 grant to improve stormwater management at the city’s Lakeview Park, reducing the amount of bacteria in stormwater being directly discharged to Lake Erie; the city of Toledo will use the $500,000 grant to install bioswales and rain gardens along the city’s Silver Creek watershed and retrofit the city’s Cullen Park with sand filters and vernal ponds to prevent an estimated 645,000 gallons of untreated sediment and stormwater from discharging to Lake Erie; and the city of Cleveland will use the $500,000 grant to install green infrastructure to absorb rainfall that will reduce the discharge of untreated stormwater near the city’s West Side Market to Lake Erie.

“The economies of our coastal communities depend on the health of Lake Erie,” said Davis.

Read the full press releases here and here.