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Sustain Our Great Lakes Partnership Announces $6.9 Million in Conservation Grants for Great Lakes Restoration

Funding supports 25 projects to improve aquatic connectivity for brook trout, restore wetland habitats for shorebirds and waterfowl, and increase stormwater storage in shoreline cities

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​WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 22, 2019) – Sustain Our Great Lakes partners today announced $6.9 million in grant funding for 25 ecological restoration projects in the Great Lakes basin. These grants leverage approximately $8.1 million in additional project support from grantees, generating a total on-the-ground conservation impact of $15 million. 

The grants awarded today will support projects in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario to sustain, restore and protect fish, wildlife and habitats by:

  • ​Restoring coastal wetland habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl and marsh-spawning fish
  • Enhancing the quality and connectivity of streams and riparian habitat for brook trout and other native fish species
  • Controlling invasive species
  • Restoring wetland hydrology and quality
  • Improving nearshore health and water quality through green stormwater infrastructure
  • Reducing sedimentation and nutrient runoff

“The grants awarded today by Sustain Our Great Lakes serve as an outstanding example of how public-private partnerships can amplify ecological impact at a regional scale for birds, fish and other wildlife and communities throughout the Great Lakes region,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The program continued to enhance its strategies this year through the addition of an invasive species control focus area, to most effectively and efficiently address the region’s most critical conservation challenges.”

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public-private partnership that supports habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes basin and advances the objectives of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the program receives funding and other support from ArcelorMittal, U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 25 projects receiving grants collectively will:

  • ​Restore more than 5 miles of stream and riparian habitat
  • Reopen 112 miles of river for fish passage
  • Remove or rectify 20 barriers to aquatic organism passage
  • Control invasive plant species on 8,700 acres of wetland, upland and riparian habitat
  • Restore 72 acres of coastal wetland habitat
  • Prevent more than 120 tons of sediment from entering waterways annually
  • Add 21 million gallons of stormwater storage capacity
  • Install more than 99,000 square feet of green stormwater infrastructure

“These projects will make a difference for people and the environment,” said Charlie Wooley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting Midwest regional director. “Restored rivers and wetlands means enhanced outdoor recreational opportunities on the water for residents and visitors to the area. We are again thrilled to be part of this partnership.”  

Since 2006, Sustain Our Great Lakes has awarded 337 grants worth more than $81 million and leveraged an additional $93.5 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation investment of more than $174.5 million.

For a complete list of the grants announced today, and to learn more about Sustain Our Great Lakes, including applicant eligibility, funding priorities and submission requirements, visit Follow the program on Twitter (@SOGL) to keep up with the latest Great Lakes news and program announcements.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $5.3 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at

About ArcelorMittal
ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 19 countries. Guided by a philosophy to produce safe, sustainable steel, we are the leading supplier of quality steel in the major global steel markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with world-class research and development and outstanding distribution networks. 

Through our core values of sustainability, quality and leadership, we operate responsibly with respect to the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors and the communities in which we operate. For more information about ArcelorMittal, visit: or

About the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leads the nation’s environmental science, research, education, and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. For more information, visit

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

About the U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Established in 1905, the U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit

About the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels

About the Natural Resources Conservation Service
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that provides one-on-one, personalized advice on the best solutions to meet the unique conservation and business goals of those who grow our nation’s food and fiber.  NRCS helps landowners make investments in their operations and local communities to keep working lands working, boost rural economies, increase the competitiveness of American agriculture, and improve the health of our air, water, and soil. NRCS also generates, manages, and shares the data, research and standards that enable partners and policymakers to make decisions informed by objective, reliable science. In simpler terms, NRCS’s focus is “Helping People Help the Land.” For more information, visit​