Stabenow Applauds $1 Million Investment to Protect Lake Erie and Productive Ann Arbor Farmland

Support made possible by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, created by Stabenow’s 2014 Farm Bill

Thursday, January 04, 2018

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $1,040,000, which will be matched by private funds, to restore Lake Erie and preserve productive farmland around Ann Arbor. This innovative new partnership is one of ten projects in Michigan made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program, authored by Stabenow.


“This project is another great example of businesses, non-profits and conservation leaders working alongside farmers at the local level to preserve land and restore habitats for fishing in the Western Lake Erie Basin,” said Senator Stabenow. “The new partnership will build on the historic investments in land and water conservation that we have already made across the state, while also keeping farmland around Ann Arbor viable and productive.”


Located near the struggling Western Lake Erie Basin and southeast Michigan’s rapidly growing metropolitan areas, the Ann Arbor Greenbelt: Saving Michigan Farms project will bring together eight partners to protect local farms, improve soil and water quality, and restore habitat for fish and wildlife.


“This new funding will further the Ann Arbor Greenbelt’s and its partners' efforts to save key agricultural lands near rapidly growing metropolitan areas and Lake Erie in southeast Michigan. The farms will remain farms, supporting the local economy, providing fresh food to communities, preserving the area’s agricultural heritage, as well as defending against water and soil quality degradation and securing habitat for fish and wildlife,” said Ruth Thornton, Ann Arbor Greenbelt Program Manager with The Conservation Fund. “We are grateful to U.S. Senator Stabenow for her leadership and ongoing support for healthy and vibrant communities here and across Michigan."



The bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill created a first-of-its-kind approach to conservation through partnerships between agriculture and conservation groups to preserve land and water, restore habitats for hunting and fishing, and protect the Great Lakes. These locally-led partnerships leverage private and public dollars to bring together partners to address regional conservation issues. In Michigan alone, ten projects have received over $57 million in federal funding, which is matched by over $57 million in partner contributions.


To build on this progress, Senator Stabenow recently introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen regional conservation partnerships in the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program Improvement Act will provide more resources for partners to expand the reach of conservation projects, while cutting red-tape and increasing flexibility to attract new participants.