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Great Lakes Today was created to highlight issues affecting the lakes. The main partners are WBFO (Buffalo), ideastream (Cleveland) and WXXI (Rochester).Browse more coverage here. Major funding for Great Lakes Today is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People. Additional funding comes from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Watershed Restoration Gets Boost in Great Lakes States

Gill Creek, Niagara Falls New York [Angelica Morrison/WBFO]

By Angelica Morrison

Several states, including a few in the Great Lakes region, have received a sizable chunk of money from the U.S. Endowment of Forestry and Communities. The funding is to increase protections in watershed areas. 

In Western New York, the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper received $300,000 for its “circuit rider” program.

Staffers will travel to communities throughout the region and advise them in managing their watersheds.

They’re looking at undeveloped land, wetland systems, forest systems and area parks.

Waterkeeper officials say that amounts to more than 400,000 acres across the region. 

The goal is to promote clean drinking water by protecting “source water” – the waters upstream. 

“What folks sometimes don’t recognize is the entire landscape is source water," Waterkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka said. "This is where our groundwater bubbles up from the stream in our headwater forests. This is where our storm water flows. So, we have to look at the entire region as having an impact on water quality.”

Ohio was among the other states that received funding through the grant program. A group there was awarded $200,000 over three years to help protect the Chagrin River watershed.

And in Michigan groups are getting $180,000 over the next four years.