SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today that he is awarding a $136,000 Illinois Clean Lakes grant to Aqua Illinois, Inc. to improve water quality in Lake Vermilion as part of his Opportunity Returns plan to reinvigorate the economy of East Central Illinois that will be announced shortly. Improvements will include reduction of sedimentation, protection of the shoreline, and improvements for the fish population.
“People used to say that you could have a clean environment or economic growth, but you couldn’t have them both. Illinois is proof that this just isn’t true. Natural resources like Lake Vermilion greatly improve our quality of life, while also creating jobs and strengthening our economy. This Opportunity Returns grant will help ensure that Lake Vermilion continues to be an important asset to the East Central region,” Governor Blagojevich said.
The Illinois Clean Lakes Program provides funding for lakes throughout Illinois in two phases. The first phase identifies environmental problems and the best corrective measures, while the second funds implementation of those measures.
“Reducing siltation and nutrients entering a lake can extend its life as a water supply source and reduce the amount of treatment necessary to avoid taste and odor problems, as well as leading to improved overall water quality and better aesthetics,” Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Renee Cipriano said.
Work is expected to start shortly and should be completed this summer.
The Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region. This grassroots effort is a product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials. Opportunity Returns contains tangible actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to business.