By Shalon Monroe

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will be investing $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to the Great Lakes “Area of Concern” project, including the St. Louis River.

The EPA said the funding will allow it to make significant progress with cleanup and restoration of the Great Lakes' most environmentally degraded sites. This will also allow for major progress towards rivers that deliver significant environmental, economic, health, and tons of recreational benefits for the communities throughout the Great Lakes regions.

It’s important for communities and the economy to “keep the Great Lakes clean and healthy,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) said in a news release issued by the EPA.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I voted for is helping us clean up polluted sites, restore water quality, and combat invasive species, ensuring Wisconsin’s economy is moving forward and our Great Lakes are protected and preserved for generations to come," Baldwin said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the Great Lakes are a huge part of Minnesota because they “provides clean drinking water, a home for fish and wildlife, and opportunities for outdoor recreation."

“This critical investment help accelerate progress towards fully delisting the St. Louis River Area of Concern in Duluth-Superior, while also combatting threats such as environmental degradation and invasive species," Klobuchar said in the news release.

The Great Lakes are essential for supplying drinking water for more than 40 million people and supporting more than several million jobs.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said it’s important “to prioritize the clean-up and restoration needs of the Saint Louis River. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is not only great for the environment, but it has also positively impacted Duluth’s economy with redevelopment opportunities and increased recreational experiences for the public.”

The EPA expects the work in the St. Louis River Area of Concern to be completed by 2030.