- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) - The Great Lakes Commission is getting more than $3.4 million for a regional partnership focusing on habitat restoration in Sault Ste. Marie.

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan on Tuesday announced the support through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The funding is for the ongoing Little Rapids project, which also involves state and local agencies.

Officials have said construction will begin next year on a 625-foot bridge on the St. Marys River, an important step toward repairing more than a century of environmental damage.

The river links Lakes Huron and Superior. Navigation projects have disrupted its water flow, and bottomlands around Sault Ste. Marie were coated with industrial discharges. The project is designed to restore more natural currents and produce 50-to-70 acres of fish spawning habitat.

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