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Thriving community connected to St. Louis River

Soil and water quality in the St. Louis River watershed will benefit from a $26,822 grant awarded to the St. Louis River Citizens Action Committee for: Enhancing the Lower St. Louis River.

Soil and water quality in the St. Louis River watershed will benefit from a $26,822 grant awarded to the St. Louis River Citizens Action Committee for: Enhancing the Lower St. Louis River.

The project is one of 42 selected for funding this year under the Great Lakes Commission's Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control. Localized efforts to improve water quality and soil management will receive nearly $1.9 million this year under the program, which promotes improved water quality in the Great Lakes basin through erosion and sediment control and sound land-use practices.

"The Great Lakes Basin Program is a decade-long success story in state, federal and local partnership," said Sam Speck, chair of the Great Lakes Commission. "It's a great example of how we can improve water quality by promoting innovative land-use practices."

The Enhancing the Lower St. Louis River project has four components that relate to implementing the recently completed Lower St. Louis River Habitat Plan. The partners in the project will work with members of the watershed communities on watershed planning with a vision of a thriving human community connected to the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of the river. Meanwhile, work will continue to move forward on priority restoration of riparian and wetland sites associated with the river. An educational brochure on the non-point pollution and biological aspects of the St. Louis River will be printed for classroom, business and office display. Finally, an interactive Web site will link aquatic habitat types to conservation information and graphics, as well as data collected through the development of the Habitat Plan.

Established by an act of Congress in 1991, the Great Lakes Basin Program has supported 259 projects and invested more than $7.7 million in water quality improvement efforts, which have attracted an additional $5.3 million in non-federal matching funds. More than 117,000 acres of land have been placed under various forms of erosion and sediment control under the program. In the process, it has involved thousands of community volunteers in watershed improvement projects, improved local ecosystems, and built support for ongoing environmental restoration efforts.

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Funding for this highly competitive grants program is provided through a cooperative agreement between the Great Lakes Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Projects are selected by the Commission's Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Task Force, whose membership consists of state and federal resource managers. For additional information, visit http://www.glc.org/basin .

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