An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

News Releases

News Releases from Region 05

EPA requests applications for $5 million in funding for Great Lakes trash-free water projects

For the second time, GLRI grants available to keep trash out of the Great Lakes

Contact Information: 
Denise Fortin (

CHICAGO (Jan. 7, 2021) –Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is seeking a second round of applications under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant program focused on keeping trash out of the Great Lakes. Approximately $5 million is available through the Trash-Free Waters Great Lakes program to fund approximately 10 large-scale projects to remove trash from Great Lakes harbors, rivermouths, and waterfronts. The deadline for applications is March 5, 2021.

In October 2019, EPA Administrator Wheeler announced the GLRI Action Plan III, an aggressive plan to guide Great Lakes restoration and protection activities by EPA and its many partners over the next four years.  The trash-free water projects EPA selects will support the larger GLRI effort to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

“This grant program will continue to harness the power of collaboration and strong partnerships we’ve established to fuel progress and so many successes under the GLRI,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Kurt Thiede. "This funding will help communities across the Great Lakes basin ensure that their harbors, rivermouths and waterfronts are trash-free— something Administrator Wheeler and this Administration has placed as a high priority for this agency.”

Mismanaged or misplaced trash, including litter or garbage, can degrade aquatic habitats, threaten aquatic wildlife, and interfere with human uses of lake, coastal, and riparian environments. These grants will support large-scale projects that use mechanical devices, vessels and other technology to remove trash from Great Lakes harbors, rivermouths and waterfronts. With these grants, EPA intends to increase the number of Great Lakes communities with operational large-scale aquatic trash collection devices that will continue to be used after project funding has ended. The minimum award is $300,000 and the maximum award is $1,000,000.

State agencies, federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia, any agency or instrumentality of local governments, nonprofit organizations, interstate agencies, and colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the grants.

EPA will host a webinar on January 26, 2021, at 2 p.m. CST to provide additional information and answer questions. To register for the webinar or learn more about the request for applications, visit

In July 2020, Administrator Wheeler announced seven Great Lakes Trash-Free Waters grants totaling approximately $2 million to support efforts to clean up beaches and water bodies.


The GLRI was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Federal agencies have funded more than 5,400 projects totaling over $2.7 billion to address the most important Great Lakes priorities such as addressing agricultural nutrients and stormwater runoff, cleaning up highly contaminated "Areas of Concern," combating invasive species and restoring habitat. Making GLRI funding available through a competitive application process is just one way that the GLRI achieves results.

For more information on the GLRI, visit