Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Joyce Foundation, Environmental Groups Announce Multi-State Restoration of Maumee River in an Effort to Reduce Lake Erie Pollution

Efforts to restore the Maumee River, the largest source of polluted runoff flowing into Lake Erie, took a major step forward Monday when one of the Midwest's largest foundations announced it is supporting a multi-state strategy to restore portions of the environmentally distressed Maumee watershed.

The Chicago-based Joyce Foundation has awarded $5 million in grants to a total of four national and local organizations in a quest to aid the recovery of the 8,316 square mile Maumee watershed, the largest river system in the Great Lakes region. The mouth of the Maumee in Toledo has been designated an Area of Concern by the International Joint Commission. The Ohio EPA estimates that more than 40 percent of the streams in the Ohio portion of the Maumee watershed do not meet Clean Water Act standards.

The 130-mile Maumee River is, itself, the largest contributor of so-called nonpoint source pollution in Lake Erie, depositing five million tons of eroded soil that contains pesticides, fertilizer, toxic chemicals and other forms of potentially harmful runoff every year into the smallest and most ecologically fragile of the nation’s Great Lakes.

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Photo: railroad bridge over the Maumee, Grand Rapids, Ohio.


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