LATHAM, N.Y. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades, with five key priorities to protect the health of the lakes and the communities that depend on them: Cleaning up toxics and areas of concern, combating invasive species, promoting near shore health by protecting watersheds from polluted run-off, restoring wetlands and other habitats and tracking progress and working with strategic partners. 

Input from citizens on the first five-year action plan, begun in 2010, emphasized cleaning up areas of concern, reducing nutrients and preventing invasive species as the Initiative's main goals, and those will continue to be the goals going forward, according to Senior Advisor to the Administrator Cameron Davis.

Water Technology caught up with Davis to discuss the millions of dollars in grants EPA has awarded to 16 Great Lakes cities this year and the projects those grants will be funding.

"The Great Lakes comprise about 20 percent of the Earth's fresh surface water,” explained Davis. “And you really need to almost just pause and think about that for a second. The population around the globe is growing, which means demand for fresh water is growing. When you have 20 percent of it, like we have, shared between the U.S. and Canada, it means that you have a resource that is very precious. It’s in demand for commerce and business, it's in demand for transportation, it's in demand for recreation and of course it's in demand for just people having to drink water."

Listen to the rest of our conversation with Davis on our podcast page, here: https://www.watertechonline.com/podcasts.