A Matter of Momentum for Great Lakes Restoration

Congress Asked for Long-Term Funding Commitment

by John Michaelson, Minnesota News Connection

ST. PAUL, Minn. – More than 400 advocates from Minnesota and across the region gathered in Milwaukee on Tuesday for the annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference. With pivotal decisions to be made by Congress on the future support for the Great Lakes economy and ecology, they’re pushing for full funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Mich progress has been made, said Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, but a long-term commitment from Washington is needed.

“That would help guarantee continuing restoration success,” he said, “and that’s success that we’re seeing not only in Minnesota, with all the projects that are being funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but across the region.”

A U.S. Senate bill would provide $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The House could slash funding to $60 million, but an amendment has been introduced that would boost the amount in the House to $210 million. The Great Lakes are the largest source of surface freshwater on the planet.

Lord said previous funding from the Initiative in Minnesota has helped with everything from protecting drinking water to tackling toxic hotspots.

“Cleaning up the toxic mud that was sitting on the bottom on Stryker Bay in Duluth,” he said, “restoring moose habitat near Grand Marais; helping folks that are boating on one of Minnesota’s many lakes understand the types of activities that they can do to prevent invasive species from spreading.”

More information is online at greatlakesrestoration.us.

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