In Traverse City, Senator Stabenow Highlights Bipartisan Legislation to Renew and Expand Funding for the Great LakesThursday, August 29, 2019
TRAVERSE CITY – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today discussed her bipartisan legislation to renew and expand funding for the Great Lakes at a press conference in Traverse City. Stabenow was joined by Bob Lambe, Executive Secretary of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Brett Fessell, River Restoration Specialist of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians; Amy Beyer, Director of the Conservation Resource Alliance; and Glen Chown, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy to highlight the importance of the Initiative’s 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 contributed significantly to the conservation outcomes of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and our ongoing efforts to protect the Grand Traverse Bay watershed,” said Glen Chown, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. “Renewing and expanding this important and effective investment in our Great Lakes will increase our ability to continue protecting our region's most critical lands and waters, thereby also protecting our economy, agricultural heritage and quality of life.”
“Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative permeates and fortifies virtually all restoration efforts the Grand Traverse Band (GTB) has endeavored over the past decade. The Initiative’s funds contribute to over 18 restoration-based programs, affording GTB’s Restoration Section unmatched technical and project management capacity for leveraging millions of dollars focused on planning, design, and implementation efforts in watershed connectivity restoration and protection throughout Northern Michigan,” said Brett Fessel, River Restoration Ecologist of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. “The synergy that has developed both within and among GTB and its dozens of conservation partners is both unprecedented and demonstrably invaluable to the programmatic success of Tribally led conservation efforts stemming from these funding mechanisms.”
"The Great Lakes fishery is worth $7 billion annually to the people of the region," said Robert Lambe, Executive Secretary of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. "The Commission's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects are hard at work to maintain and enhance that resource. Our projects are focused on fish species recovery, innovative sea lamprey control, habitat protection and restoration, and greater access for fish and people to river and lake resources. The Commission commends Senator Stabenow and her Great Lakes Task Force colleagues for their commitment to reauthorize and augment the highly successful Initiative."
“Thanks to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Conservation Resource Alliance has been able to protect more of northern Michigan’s indispensable rivers and wildlife habitats than ever before,” said Amy Beyer, Director of the Conservation Resource Alliance. “We are thankful for Senator’s Stabenow’s efforts and commitment to fighting for the Great Lakes.”
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is critical to cleaning up the Great Lakes, beaches, and waterways and fighting invasive species like Asian carp. According to the Great Lakes Commission, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has funded nearly $32 million across 48 projects in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Benzie 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.
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