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Friday | 24 July, 2009 | 6:27 am

A superior initiative

By Modern Metals' staff

July 2009 - The green movement stirs up images of the latest hybrid cars; reusable shopping bags; and spiral-shaped, long-lasting light bulbs. The pictures that typically aren't evoked by thoughts of the eco trend, however, are those of the environment. It's as though people are aware of the steps that must be taken but somewhere along the way forgot who the benefactor would be: Mother Earth.

One of her greatest natural resources in North America are the Great Lakes. In person, the bodies of water are a vision of grandeur. In an environmental sense, they "represent 21 percent of the world's fresh surface water and provide ecological services that are critical at both local and global scales," according to Donn Waage, central partnership office director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Significant support
To preserve the approximately 5,500 cubic miles of water that make up the Great Lakes and the habitats that those bodies of water support, ArcelorMittal, Luxembourg, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and a handful of federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service, recently announced 26 new projects that will receive $1.5 million in funding under the Sustain Our Great Lakes program.

"A vibrant, sustainable Great Lakes watershed is important to our business and our community," said Bill Steers, president, ArcelorMittal USA Foundation. "ArcelorMittal is committed to helping preserve the Great Lakes region, not only because it's critical to the success of our business but also because it's where thousands of our employees, customers and other key stakeholders reside."

The program, which was formerly known as the ArcelorMittal Great Lakes Watershed Restoration Program, will divvy out a total of $10 million in funds over the course of three years. The 26 projects that were recently granted portions of that total will take place in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Ontario and Quebec.

Examples of the awarded recipients include the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which oversees a Lake Michigan shoreline Adopt-a-Beach program; the Clinton River Watershed Council, a group that aims to remove two dams on the North Branch of the Clinton River in Michigan in order to restore connectivity to 93 stream miles; and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District that will restore natural hydrology and vegetation to farmed wetland located on the Little Menomonee River, reducing pollution and flood damage.

The Sustain our Great Lakes program with the help of ArcelorMittal will fund these initiatives, the 23 remaining initiatives recently announced and will continue to take applications for similar organizations with like-minded goals. To determine eligibility and submission requirements, visit www.nfwf.org/greatlakes. MM

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