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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $417,830 grant to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to keep litter and trash out of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. EPA provided the Trash-Free Waters Grant under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, or GLRI.

“EPA is committed to protecting the Great Lakes and these projects will make a visible difference,” said acting EPA Regional Administrator Cheryl Newton. “Removing trash from the Great Lakes is just one of many ways we are working to restore this incredible natural resource.”

UW Oshkosh will purchase a trash skimmer boat to target several key waterways that drain into Green Bay and Lake Michigan. This two-hulled catamaran will collect litter and debris from Sturgeon Bay and the Fox, Ahnapee, Kewaunee and Manitowoc rivers. The University also will purchase two stationary bins to passively capture trash in smaller areas.

“The U.S. EPA Trash Free Waters funding of trash collection at accumulation points in northeast Wisconsin will be a critical step in the cleanup and prevention of trash accumulation at major water access points in northeast Wisconsin,” said Greg Kleinheinz, UWO engineering technology department chair and Environmental Research and Innovation Center director. “In this region, Great Lakes water resources are vital to the economy and society of each community. The ability to address trash deposition and accumulation long-term is critical to protecting these water resources for all that use these resources.”

Greg Kleinheinz

UWO will be funded through the GLRI as part of a larger effort to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Specifically, the funded work supports the GLRI goal of protecting and restoring the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes basin. The GLRI was launched in 2010 as a non-regulatory program to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world.

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