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Funding Announced for Saginaw Bay Projects

Contact: Robert McCann (517) 373-7917
Agency: Environmental Quality

January 11, 2010

The Department of Environmental Quality has received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office for four projects that will help restore the Saginaw Bay coastal area. These projects were all identified as part of the Saginaw Bay Coastal Initiative, an effort organized by the DEQ to collaborate and find solutions for environmental concerns in the Saginaw Bay region.

The Saginaw River Tributary Model & Saginaw Bay Beach Forecasting System project will receive $80,000 to allow the Bay County Health Department to develop a model to determine beach quality conditions and to identify the factors that cause impacts to area beach water quality. The model will be designed to produce real-time or forecasted results for daily swimming conditions, and will support the installation of continuous monitoring equipment to be installed near the confluence of the Saginaw River and nearby beaches. The Bay County Health Department will be working with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab.

The Lake Huron Beach Sanitary Surveys project will receive $31,500 to be provided to the Bay County Health Department, the Central Michigan District Health Department, and the Huron County Health Department to investigate and initiate corrective actions for potential sources of contamination at five Saginaw Bay beaches: Singing Bridge Beach in Arenac County, Whites Beach in Arenac County, Bay City Recreation Area in Bay County, Caseville Beach in Huron County, and Port Crescent State Park beaches in Huron County.

The Huron Conservation District will receive $50,000 for the Agricultural Phosphorus Reduction Effort in Saginaw Bay Watershed project. This money will provide for a water quality improvement technical assistance program to small and medium livestock facilities in Huron, Tuscola, and Sanilac Counties with special emphasis on the Pigeon and Pinnebog River Watersheds. The effort will focus on corrective actions at livestock facilities resulting in the reduction of phosphorus discharges to Saginaw Bay.

Finally, $69,210 will go towards implementation of a pilot wetlands monitoring project in the Saginaw Bay Area of Concern. This project will fund the implementation of a three-year pilot wetland monitoring project in Saginaw Bay. The DEQ, working with Central Michigan University, will select five sites to test three wetland monitoring protocols. This pilot project will enable the DEQ to further develop its wetland monitoring program.

"These projects are important to our continuing effort to restore the Saginaw Bay coastal area," said Interim DEQ Director Jim Sygo. "We appreciate the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to provide these funds and we look forward to working with local interests as part of the Saginaw Bay Coastal Initiative."

Details of the Saginaw Bay Coastal Initiative and additional information are available online at http://www.michigan.gov/deq under "Issues to Watch."

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Editor's note: DEQ news releases are available on the department's Internet home page at www.michigan.gov/deq.

"Protecting Michigan's Environment, Ensuring Michigan's Future"

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