ECO Program Funding


Through CIGLR’s Engagement, Career Training, and Outreach (ECO) Program, we are offer awards to support undergraduate or graduate students who incorporate an engagement, career training, or outreach component into their research. The ECO program component must highlight the contributions of NOAA, CIGLR, and CIGLR’s Regional Consortium Partners to research and management of the Great Lakes for the good of its people. Examples include, but are not limited to, Congressional visits, op-ed articles, K‐12 education activities, community outreach events, public education talks, establishment of social media sites or feeds, factsheets, newsletters, or magazines. We particularly encourage proposals that include a DEIJ element, such as outreach to underserved or minority groups, education programs in underresourced school districts, or policy engagement on environmental justice issues. For information about CIGLR’s ECO Program, visit

2023 ECO Program Awards – request for proposals
proposal deadline January 13, 2023

[Click image to expand or arrows to scroll]

Current ECO Awards

Click here to learn more

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee graduate student Lexi Passante sampling Wisconsin’s Kinnickinnic River. Photo Credit: Lexi Passante.

Project Title: Communicating the Impact of Road Salt Pollution in the Great Lakes

Key Project Personnel: Lexi Passante (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee) and Sandra McLellan (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)

In The News: 

About: In snowy climates, road salts are applied to keep roads safe but end up in waterways through snowmelt events. Chloride (a chemical compound found in road salts) permanently pollutes and raises the salinity of freshwater and can be harmful to aquatic organisms when exposed. However, not much is fully understood of the long-term impacts of chloride. Lexi Passante, a graduate student in Sandra McLellan’s, PhD, laboratory at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) School of Freshwater Sciences took a microbiological approach to investigate these impacts. With support from a CIGLR ECO Award, Passante sampled sediment at riverine sites located in a Lake Michigan drainage basin and discovered widespread halophile populations. Halophiles (salt-loving bacteria) generally require the presence of salt to survive, and can be found in places like our oceans. “Our findings were very surprising!” said Passante. “We thought it would be difficult to find halophiles sustained in freshwater—so, we definitely wanted to share our results with the hope of educating others about chloride pollution.” Passante teamed up with Wisconsin Salt Wise, Oconomowoc High School, Waukesha County, and the UWM Film Department to create educational materials through Data Nuggets and a video series that documented Passante’s research. “The data we collected was incorporated into the Data Nuggets educational page for students to learn how to work with environmental datasets,” explained Passante. The videos are currently promoted by the Wisconsin Salt Wise social media team to advance chloride awareness.