Biden unveils $1B plan to clean up polluted Great Lakes waterways, including 11 Michigan rivers

Feb 17, 2022 at 3:27 pm
click to enlarge Detroit River in Detroit. - Shutterstock
Detroit River in Detroit.

President Joe Biden rolled out a $1 billion plan Thursday to clean up polluted waterways around the Great Lakes region.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that Biden signed into law last year, will help clean up 25 polluted waterways and other “areas of concern” listed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Of those, 11 are in Michigan. They include the Detroit River, the River Rouge, the St. Clair River, and the Clinton River in metro Detroit.

“We’re investing like never, ever in history,” Biden said in a speech in Lorain, Ohio. “For decades, there was a lot of talk, a lot of plans, but very little progress. It was slow. That changes today.”

Crews will remove sediment and restore habitat along the Detroit River and River Rouge, which have been contaminated by industrial emissions, such as heavy metals.

In the Clinton River and St. Clair River, pollutants from urbanization, such as oil, grease, fecal bacteria, and other waste will be removed. The contamination has resulted in beach closings and loss of fish and wildlife habitat.

“Cleaning up areas of concern in our Great Lakes region has been a long time coming — especially the Detroit River and Rouge River in my district,” U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, said in a statement. “This strong investment will speed up the much-needed cleanup process to protect against invasive species like sea lampreys and address harmful algae blooms and other contaminants in rivers across the Great Lakes region. Our Great Lakes are a way of life — they support the economy, stand-up, good-paying jobs, and allow communities access to outdoor recreation. I’m proud to have secured important infrastructure investments like this and look forward to working with the EPA to conserve fish and wildlife, combat the threat of invasive species, and protect the Great Lakes for generations to come.”

Biden said some of the waterways are “dangerously polluted.”

“The Midwest built America. And we’re building it again,” Biden said.

Other cleanups are planned for the Kalamazoo River, Manistique River, Muskegon River, River Raisin, Saginaw River, Bay Torch Lake, and St. Marys River.

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit.