In Saginaw, Senator Stabenow Announces Bipartisan Legislation to Renew and Expand Funding for the Great Lakes

Friday, August 23, 2019

SAGINAW – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced bipartisan legislation to renew and expand funding for the Great Lakes at a press conference in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw. Stabenow was joined by Rich Bowman, Director of Working Lands of The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, David Lossing, Chair of the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition, and Nikki Ghorpade, Government Affairs Representative of Ducks Unlimited to highlight the importance of GLRI funding to our lakes and waterways across the region.


The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2021, for another five years. The bill increases the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in Fiscal Year 2022 and increases funding by $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million in Fiscal Year 2026.


“Our Initiative has made a real difference across Michigan by funding hundreds of projects with proven results,” said Senator Stabenow, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “Republicans and Democrats agree - the best way to tackle the challenges and threats to our water is to continue investing in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways.”


“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has accelerated the conservation of our important Great Lakes coastal wetlands and has made a tremendous positive impact on the fish, wildlife, and people that depend on them.  Since its inception, GLRI funding has helped Ducks Unlimited meet our wetlands and waterfowl conservation mission by providing more than $39 million for partnership projects that have restored and protected nearly 25,000 acres of habitat,” said Jason Hill, Director of Conservation Programs. “Ducks Unlimited thanks Senator Stabenow for her continued support of GLRI and her leadership to reauthorize this critical program.”


"Since its creation over a decade ago, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been the catalyst for many of the conservation outcomes The Nature Conservancy has been able to accomplish in our efforts to protect and restore a healthy Great Lakes," said Rich Bowman, Director of Working Lands, The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. "Renewing and expanding GLRI funding will increase our ability to continue protecting Michigan's lands and waters, tackling climate change, and building healthy cities.”


“Since the launch of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2010, the federal funding has provided numerous projects that have and continue to have a positive impact on the Shiawassee River watershed - from habitat restoration, working with our agriculture community, eliminating invasive species, storm water management best practices, and the current removal of the dam in the City of Corruna,” said David Lossing, Chair, Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition. “U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has been protecting our Great Lakes and will continue to prevent cuts to the funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with her colleagues in the Senate.”


The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is critical to cleaning up the Great Lakes, beaches, and waterways and fighting invasive species like Asian carp. Since 2010, the Initiative has provided over $2.4 million for five projects on or around the Shiawassee Wildlife National Refuge. These projects include improving water quality throughout the Shiawassee River watershed and restoring fish and wildlife habitats.


According to the Great Lakes Commission, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has funded over $17 million across 35 projects in Saginaw, Genesee, Bay, Shiawassee, and Midland Counties. Statewide, 880 projects have received more than $762 million.


U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Vice Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Todd Young (R-IN), Vice Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, are also co-sponsors of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019. Congressman David Joyce (R-OH) and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) are authors of the House companion bill which is cosponsored by 40 Members, including 11 Michigan Representatives.