Annis Institute receives $1.4 million of federal grants

Annis Institute receives $1.4 million of federal grants

Molly Waite

Christmas has come early for the Grand Valley State University Annis Water Research Institute with approximately $1.4 million in grants being provided to fund four projects by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, part of the Environmental Protection Agency created to preserve the Great Lakes.

“President Obama has made restoring and protecting the Great Lakes a national priority,” according to the GLRI web site, “To meet the goals we’ve set, the president proposed and Congress approved hundreds of millions of dollars for community-based projects to revitalize and protect the Great Lakes.”

The first of the competitive grants were awarded Sept. 7.

Alan Steinman, director of AWRI, said the grants will fund four projects, three of which AWRI will lead. An estimated $568,449 will go to the Observatory for Ecosystem Changes in Muskegon Lake, headed by Bopi Biddanda, GVSU associate professor of environmental biology.

The Coordinated Lake-Specific Onboard Education and Outreach project, headed by Janet Vail, GVSU associate professor and research scientist, will receive $291,721.

Another $247,212 will be granted to the Studies to Support Ruddiman Creek project, headed by Steinman.

About $232,910 will be used for the Implementing Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring project, headed by Don Uzarski, a professor at Central Michigan University, and assisted by both Carl Ruetz, GVSU associate professor of environmental biology, and Steinman.

“This was part of the $450 million from Obama’s administration initiative to restore the Great Lakes,” Steinman said. “The majority of these funds went to federal agencies, but about $150 million was made available for competitive grant awards.”

The EPA oversaw the distribution of the competitive grant money, Steinman said. They received roughly 1,000 proposals asking for more than one billion dollars. Only 16 percent of those proposals were approved for funding.

When asked why he thought that GVSU was selected for these grants, Steinman said he believes the quality of the science presented in GVSU’s proposals and the relevance of the projects to the overall restoration of the Great Lakes made a difference.

“Given how competitive the funding was for these grants, the success of the AWRI faculty is truly impressive,” Steinman said in a press release. “The outcomes from these projects help in the continued protection and restoration of the Great Lakes, as well as helping educate the public about critical problems facing the Great Lakes. Ultimately, our goal is to a make sure these findings translate into solutions.”

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