Agriculture Chairwoman Stabenow: USDA Resources will Target Great Lakes Water Quality

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today said conservation assistance will be making its way to Lake Erie in order to improve water quality and prevent water contamination in the Great Lakes region. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Lake Erie watershed will receive $2 million to ensure farmers have the opportunity to take action on implementing best water conservation practices.

Sen. Stabenow, vice chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, has led a national effort to protect the Great Lakes for future generations. Stabenow also led her colleagues in writing and passing the 2014 Farm Bill, which represents the nation's biggest investment in conservation programs and is considered one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation in generations.

"The Great Lakes are crucial to our way of life both here in Michigan and across the country," said Stabenow. "This new assistance is important in order to protect the health and wellness of 33 million Americans who rely on the Great Lakes for safe drinking water. Today's announcement is a big step in the right direction to make sure future water contamination crises are prevented."

Farmers and partners in the Western Lake Erie Basin will be eligible to apply for funding this week which will encourage water quality protection by preventing soil and nutrition erosion. In addition to this funding, USDA has partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation who are providing Lake Erie with $1 million to increase on-the-ground resources in the event a water contamination crisis occurs. USDA's announcement follows last month's discovery of a toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie that prevented communities in Southeast Michigan from drinking or using their tap water.