President Barack Obama's proposed budget seeks $475 million for a Great Lakes cleanup plan.
The spending blueprint released Thursday includes a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative led by the Environmental Protection Agency.
It would target some of the region's most pressing environmental problems, such as invasive species, runoff pollution and contaminated sediments.
Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission, says it appears the money is a down payment toward Obama's campaign pledge to pump $5 billion into Great Lakes restoration.
EPA chief Lisa Jackson told leaders and activists from the region this week the administration would honor Obama's promise.
A coalition of governments and private groups proposed a wide-ranging cleanup for the lakes in December 2005, but it has received little funding thus far.