Federal Funding Comes to Traverse City FishPass, Other Great Lakes Projects

More federal dollars are making their way to northern Michigan as part of another round of clean water grants.

Epa Fish PassMonday morning a representative from the EPA stopped at the Union Street Dam in Traverse City, to announce another $12 million in federal funding. More than $7 million of that falls under the umbrella of projects in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and the grant goes to the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission.

And the EPA says they’re supporting the FishPass project in Traverse City, which will allow native fish to pass through the waterways while blocking invasive species. EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede is based in Chicago and works with projects throughout the Great Lakes region. “One of the things we look for in these projects are partnerships. Local ownership, and I think we’ve seen that at the federal, state, local, and tribal level, on a project like this. So you’ve got partners that come together and you’ve got the community support.”

Epa Fish Pass 2

Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Tribal Chairman-Elect David Arroyo, Traverse City Manager Marty Colburn, and EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede chat prior to Monday’s news conference.

This latest grant announcement includes $1.83  million for FishPass, bringing the total to $16.5 million in federal funding over the past four years. Construction is due to start this fall, and FishPass is expected to be operational in 2023.

Thiede says, “This is going to be a first of its kind in the world type of project. And hopefully not only will it improve awareness and knowledge of the fishery here in Michigan but also could transform that to information and knowledge that would be available globally to further our understanding.”

Fishpass 2The EPA also highlighted projects on the Grand River and Little Manistee River as part of this latest round of federal funding.