Senator Stabenow Applauds Great Lakes Investment to Reduce Algae Blooms in Lake Erie

Thursday, September 17, 2015

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, applauded the announcement that the Great Lakes Commission will receive $400,000 to address water quality issues in the Western Lake Erie Basin. This support, which comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Innovation Grants program, will help the Great Lakes Commission develop a framework to improve water quality and prevent harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie. Funding for the Conservation Innovation Grant program comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which was reauthorized by Senator Stabenow's 2014 Farm Bill.

"The Great Lakes are part of who we are and our way of life," said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. "This investment will help the Great Lakes Commission improve water quality and protect Lake Erie for generations to come. Additionally, today's announcement builds off the work already being done to prevent algae blooms in Lake Erie thanks to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative."

This grant will support a three-year partnership with Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and the Province of Ontario. This effort will test water quality trading as a tool to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin. Water quality trading utilizes a market-based approach to provide incentives for farmers who work to reduce water pollution and restore water quality on and near their lands. This funding is part of a $20.5 million USDA investment in 45 projects across the country to develop and advance the conservation of natural resources. A full list of projects can be found here.

Senator Stabenow has been a strong advocate for reducing algae blooms in Lake Erie and recently announced another award for the Great Lakes Commission to help reduce nutrient, phosphorous, and nitrogen runoff. Additionally, just last month she announced a $5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture investment to help farmers and livestock producers prevent phosphorous and nitrogen runoff into the Western Lake Erie Basin.