Milwaukee receives $1 million green infrastructure grant from EPA

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the award of a $1 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the City of Milwaukee.

The grant will fund green infrastructure projects to improve water quality in Lake Michigan, the EPA said.

Milwaukee will use the EPA grant, in combination with $2.1 million in city funding, to install porous pavement that will filter stormwater and reduce the amount of untreated runoff discharged to the Kinnickinnic, Menomonee, and Milwaukee Rivers that flow into the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern and Lake Michigan.

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Susan Hedman, EPA Region 5 administrator / Great Lakes National Program manager, announced the grant at the Global Water Center.

“The City of Milwaukee will use this EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure grant to prevent storm water from carrying contamination into Lake Michigan,” Hedman said. “These green infrastructure projects will also help protect against flooding during more frequent and intense storms which may occur as a result of climate change.”

“Today’s grant announcement from the EPA represents a significant investment in Milwaukee’s green infrastructure,” Barrett said. “Reducing stormwater runoff and clear water from entering the sewer system is a main goal of ReFresh Milwaukee, the City’s sustainability plan, and this grant will help the city achieve our goal to protect the health and vitality of Lake Michigan.”

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Milwaukee is one of 16 cities to receive funding in the initial round of EPA’s new Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities grant program. These grants can be used to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of green infrastructure projects on public property. The projects include rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, porous pavement, greenways, constructed wetlands, stormwater tree trenches and other green infrastructure measures designed to improve water quality in the Great Lakes basin.

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