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EPA gives $3.7M to protect endangered Lake Superior reef

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Posted at 11:30 AM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 11:30:32-04

LANSING, Mich. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is spending $3.7 million to remove copper mining waste rock from a Lake Superior harbor where it threatens an important fish spawning area.

Waste known as stamp sands was dumped along the lakefront during the early 20th century. It covers 1,400 acres (567 hectares) of shoreline and lake bottom and is drifting toward Buffalo Reef, where trout and whitefish reproduce.

A dredging operation is expected to continue through this year. About 157,000 cubic yards (120,035 cubic meters) of rock will be removed from Grand Traverse Harbor and a trough will be dug to create a sediment trap near the reef.

The EPA funding was awarded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program that focuses on longstanding environmental problems in the region.

The state of Michigan is contributing $3 million.

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