Plastic litter on Great Lakes beaches

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

What do cigarette butts, takeout containers, straws and water bottles have in common? They’re some of the most common litter found on Lake Michigan and Lake Erie beaches, according to a recent study published in Science of the Total Environment.

Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources accepting applications for 2017 Drinking Water Institute

Applications due February 10, 2017
Apply at

Lack of access to clean, safe drinking water is often seen as a problem suffered in “developing” countries. Recent events in North America, however, have highlighted the fact that our own water is not to be taken for granted.

There is no better place to explore these issues than the Great Lakes -where 40 million people get drinking water from a basin holding one-fifth of all of the world’s available fresh water. From April 2nd through the 8th, 2017, IJNR will get journalists out from behind their desks and take them into the field to see how safe, clean drinking water is “made” and what issues threaten that supply.

During this expenses-paid, weeklong fellowship journalists will:

  • Tour the water treatment plant in Toledo, Ohio to learn what’s being done to prevent a future event like the 2014 algal bloom in Lake Erie that cut off the water supply of half a million people.
  • Travel to Flint, Michigan to talk with residents about how they’re dealing with the aftermath of the lead crisis and meet city and state officials trying to restore faith in the municipal water system.
  • Spend a day in Walkerton, Ontario, where a deadly e. coli outbreak in 2000 brought the issue of drinking water security and agricultural runoff to the front page, leading to the creation of strict new water laws and the state-of-the-art Walkerton Clean Water Centre, where thousands of Ontario water providers have been trained to manage their own supply.
  • Speak with officials in Guelph, Ontario about their concerns over the future of their public drinking water aquifers as both their growing population and private water-bottling companies like Nestle seek to draw water from the same wells.
  • Learn how nutrient pollution and a resulting “dead zone” in Lake Erie complicate the job of the water department in Cleveland.
  • Meet scientists and engineers working on the latest clean water technologies.

Join your colleagues as they explore these and other to-be-determined issues in our freshwater supply and security. IJNR will also provide training sessions in some of the latest digital media technologies and other techniques to improve writing and reporting on natural resource issues. Participants will return to work armed with story ideas, background knowledge, expert sources and training to tell these stories better and inform and engage their readers, listeners and viewers across North America.

Company Stands by Plan to Bury Nuke Waste Near Lake Huron

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

A Canadian company that wants to bury waste from nuclear power plants near Lake Huron said Tuesday a study of alternative sites had found none better than a location already targeted, which has drawn strong opposition on both sides of the border.

Toxin kills thousands of birds along Lake Michigan shoreline

Read the full story from Interlochen Public Radio.

Since 2006, Lake Michigan has seen a steady stream of dead birds washing up on its beaches, and this fall has been exceptionally grim.

Environmental policy center to convene Great Lakes mayors

Read the full story from the University of Illinois Chicago.

The Freshwater Lab, a University of Illinois at Chicago-based environmental research and policy center, has been awarded two grants to support its work examining social and human issues related to water, energy and natural resources in the Great Lakes region.

A $50,000 grant from the McDougal Family Foundation will enable the Freshwater Lab to host a Great Lakes mayoral summit in 2017, entitled “Untrouble the Waters: Leading the Future in the Great Lakes.”

In addition, a $200,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will also support the summit and allow the Freshwater Lab to continue its work with community partners on freshwater issues and create a curriculum on Great Lakes issues to be used across the region.

Funding opp: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2016 RFA

This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits applications from eligible entities for grants and/or cooperative agreements to be awarded pursuant to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan II (PDF) (30 pp, 5.1 MB, About PDF). This RFA is EPA’s major competitive grant funding opportunity under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for FY 2016 and FY 2017. It is one of several funding opportunities available through federal agencies under the GLRI. It is not anticipated that EPA will offer funding opportunities for these categories again in FY 2017.

Up to approximately $26 million may be awarded in total as grants and/or cooperative agreements under this RFA for approximately 56 projects in the seven categories listed below, contingent upon funding availability, the quality of applications received and other applicable considerations.

Applications are requested for projects within the seven categories listed below, each of which has a separate Funding Opportunity Number (FON) and is separately posted on Applicants must apply for the specific funding opportunity they are interested in.


Funding Opportunity Number appears in parentheses after each category.

  • Great Lakes Taxonomy and Barcodes to Support Early Detection Monitoring (EPA-R5-GL2016-TAG)
  • Invasive Species Control (EPA-R5-GL2016-ISC)
  • Foundations for Invasive Species Collaborations (EPA-R5-GL2016-FFC)
  • Phosphorus Risk Reduction Pilots in Western Lake Erie Agricultural Watersheds (EPA-R5-GL2016-PRR)
  • Agricultural Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2016-AWM)
  • Urban Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2016-UWM)
  • Agricultural Incentive Program Effectiveness (EPA-R5-GL2016-IPE)


Nonfederal governmental entities, including state agencies, interstate agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes and tribal organizations, local governments, institutions of higher learning (i.e., colleges and universities), and non-profit organizations as defined in 2 C.F.R. § 200 are eligible to apply for funding under this RFA.  Individuals, foreign organizations and governments, nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying, and “for-profit” organizations are not eligible.

Important Dates

These dates are subject to change.

  • Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, 1:00 p.m. Central /2:00 p.m. Eastern – A webinar will be held to discuss the RFA. See Section IV for further information.
  • Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 –Applications must be submitted to EPA through by 10:59 p.m. Central/11:59 p.m. Eastern. See Section IV for further submission information.
  • March 2017 (tentative) – EPA will begin notifying finalists.
  • May 2017 (tentative) – EPA will begin making official awards.

Contact Info

  • Great Lakes Taxonomy and Barcodes to Support Early Detection Monitoring (EPA-R5-GL2016-TAG): Jamie Schardt ( 312-353-5085
  • Invasive Species Control (EPA-R5-GL2016-ISC): Jamie Schardt ( 312-353-5085
  • Foundations for Invasive Species Collaborations (EPA-R5-GL2016-FFC): Jamie Schardt ( 312-353-5085
  • Phosphorus Risk Reduction Pilots in Western Lake Erie Agricultural Watersheds (EPA-R5-GL2016-PRR): Santina Wortman ( 312-353-8319
  • Agricultural Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2016-AWM): Paul Thomas ( 312-886-7742
  • Urban Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2016-UWM): Jacqueline Adams ( 312-353-7203
  • Agricultural Incentive Program Effectiveness (EPA-R5-GL2016-IPE): T. Kevin O’Donnell ( 312-886-0813

25 Companies, Organizations Honored for Sustainability Achievements in Illinois

Read the full story from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

Abbott Laboratories won an Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award for the 15th time on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at a ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago. They were among 25 companies and organizations to be honored for their commitment to sustainable business and operations during the Awards’ 30th anniversary year.