Lake Superior State University Gets Grant To Diversify Economic Efforts Through Conservation Project

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions are struggling to maintain their regular operations, let alone expand programming. But there is an effort to ensure that projects that could increase research and understanding in conservation aren’t ignored. Funds are critical to these kinds of programs, and educational institutions will apply for grants to expand research.

In Michigan, Lake Superior State University has received a $956,858 grant from the CARES Act Recovery Assistance. The Economic Development Administration, through the U.S. Department of Commerce, has awarded this grant to LSSU. This grant will receive $239,215 in local matching funds and will go towards the expansion of the Center for Freshwater Research and Education and to purchase new lab equipment.

Jeff Hagan, CEO of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning & Development Commission, spoke on this grant award: “On behalf of the EUP Economic Development District, we are excited to see this EDA investment in CFRE at LSSU. It will no doubt be a boost to the area’s economy and build off the longstanding research the university has been involved in for decades while also helping to transform the St. Marys riverfront in Sault Ste. Marie.”

What will this grant do, and how will it help with conservation & the community at LSSU?

There are a few benefits to this grant award. First, this project was awarded matching funds because it’s in an opportunity zone. An opportunity zone is an “economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.” This zone is meant to encourage increased economic activity. Michigan has 288 designated opportunity zones all over the state. This project will bring economic growth, according to its leaders. This conservation project will create 20 jobs and will generate $14.2 million in private investment.

The funds for this project came from the CARES Act Recovery Assistance. This particular program was included in the CARES ACT that was signed into law in 2020. The CARES Act designated $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs. These programs were meant to help mitigate damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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