Clarkson University receives $6M grant from EPA to continue Great Lakes contaminant monitoring

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POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWTI) — A partnership of New York colleges and universities has been awarded grant funding to continue contaminant monitoring on the Great Lakes.

According to Clarkson University is has received an approximately $6 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This five-year grant is for the University to continue its partnership with SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Oswego to conduct the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program.

Since 2006, the EPA has awarded the partnership team $14.75 million to monitor for contaminants in the Great Lakes. This funding is also a part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“Global commerce, recreation enthusiasts and municipalities within the entire Great Lakes ecosystem rely upon the extraordinary science and innovative solutions from this research team addressing contaminant trends in fish and ensuring healthy water supplies,” stated Clarkson Provost Robyn Hannigan. “Clarkson and its collaborators for the EPA’s Great Lakes National Program are committed to applying their expertise to the environmental and resilient economic solutions that make a difference for the public good.” 

This monitoring program uses fish as indicators for levels of contaminants. Clarkson shared that this new funding will help continue analysis for contaminants to assess trends in organic compounds and mercury in open waters of the Great Lakes.

CU added that current and emerging contaminants include substances like flame retardants, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, as well as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

“During the next five years, we will enhance our state-of-the-art capability to identify and quantify pollutants in fish at levels previously impossible to achieve,” said Clarkson University Principal Invesitgator Thomas M. Holsen. “We will assess temporal changes in contaminant transfer through lake food webs; expand the list of target chemicals; explore contaminant induced proteomic fingerprint changes in lake trout, and augment our collaborations with state and federal programs.”

Holsen concluded by saying this funding ill help provide a “clearer picture of the health of the Great Lakes.”

Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program principal investigators include, Holsen, Jean S. Newell, Sujan Fernano, Philip K. Hopke, James Pagano, Michael Milligan and Bernard S. Crimmins.

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