Bipartisan bill aims to restore the Great Lakes, increase funding
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. Federal agencies use GLRI resources to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress toward long term goals.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has been pushing for bipartisan legislation she introduced to renew and expand funding for the Great Lakes.
Stabenow advocated for continued and increased funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 in Traverse City last week.
“As we are seeing the extreme weather and climate crisis, as well as all the other challenges that we have, it’s more important than ever that we be providing the resources we need to tackle the challenges related to the Great Lakes," Sen. Stabenow, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force said.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for another five years. It was set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2021.
The new bill would increase the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million and increase funding by $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million.
The original initiative has funded hundreds of projects which aim to protect and restore the Great Lakes.
“Eighty-five-percent of our country’s fresh water surrounds us in Michigan. I think we have a special responsibility to lead the way in protecting that water," Stabenow said.
According to the Great Lakes Commission, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has funded more than $762 million across 880 projects statewide.
According to its website, "since 2010 the multi-agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided funding to 16 federal organizations to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress toward achieving long-term goals."
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative long-term goals:
- Fish safe to eat
- Water safe for recreation
- Safe source of drinking water
- All Areas of Concern delsited
- Harmful/nuisance algal blooms eliminated
- No new self-sustaining invasive species
- Existing invasive species controlled
- Native habitat protected and restored to sustain native species