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LATEST NEWS

May 24th 2016

House Subcommittee to Vote Wednesday on Great Lakes Program Funding

Grassy Point wetland in Duluth, Minnesota. Removing wood waste from abandoned factories has helped restore the health of the wetland. Photo from U.S. EPA, taken by P. Collins.

Grassy Point wetland in Duluth, Minnesota has benefited from Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. Removing wood waste from abandoned factories helped restore the health of the wetland. Photo from U.S. EPA, taken by P. Collins.

The U.S. House Interior and Environment subcommittee has scheduled a markup of its appropriations bill for Wednesday, May 25. The legislation contains proposed funding levels for several core Great Lakes programs. Based on the draft that was released today, the bill contains:

$300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:

This is $50 million above President’s budget request and the same as current fiscal year 2016 funding. The GLRI invests in programs to clean up toxic pollution to protect the health of people and wildlife; reduce run-off from cities and farms to prevent harmful algal bloom; fight invasive species to protect native species; and restore wildlife habitat and wetlands to protect outdoor recreation opportunities.

 

$1 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund:

That’s $21 million more than President’s budget request, but $394 million less than current fiscal year 2016 funding. The national program provides low-interest loans to communities to fix wastewater infrastructure to protect water quality and to keep beaches open.

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April 26th 2016

U.S. House Passes Vital Great Lakes Bill

Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition urges Senate to Act to ensure that the national maintains commitment to Great Lakes
People use the Great Lakes for swimming, boating, and wildlife watching. Credit: iStock photo.

People use the Great Lakes for swimming, boating, and wildlife watching. Credit: iStock photo.

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (April 26, 2016)—The U.S. House today passed by voice vote the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016, a bill that is an integral piece of federal Great Lakes restoration efforts. The bill, H.R. 223, authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million annually over the next five years. The initiative supports efforts to restore fish as wildlife habitat to support outdoor recreation opportunities, clean up toxic pollution to protect human health, reduce farm and city runoff to protect drinking water and keep beaches open, and fight invasive species.

 

Authorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a top priority of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

 

Commenting on passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016 bill, Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:

 

“We thank the U.S. House for passing a bill that is vital to the millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We especially appreciate the support from U.S. Rep. David Joyce, who has worked tirelessly to pass this important bill. Federal restoration efforts have enjoyed strong bi-partisan support from Day 1—a testament to the importance of the Great Lakes, which supply drinking water to more than 30 million people.

 

“Federal restoration efforts are producing results. Although we have made progress, the Lakes still face serious threats. So we urge the U.S. Senate to act swiftly so that the nation continues its commitment to the Great Lakes. We can’t afford to stop now. Restoration projects will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”

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April 7th 2016

Great Lakes Communications Workshops: How to Use Latest Public Opinion Research to Effectively Advocate for the Lakes

 

Empire Bluff Trail overlooking Sleeping Bear Dunes. Photo credit National Park Service.

Empire Bluff Trail overlooking Sleeping Bear Dunes. Photo credit National Park Service.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition will be spending part of April and May touring the Great Lakes region hosting communications workshops. The workshops will cover our latest polling data, how to effectively communicate about Great Lakes restoration, how to use social media in this advocacy, and we’ll be sharing a tool kit with messaging tips and template materials. Learn more and RSVP here.

The workshops are free and open to the public. Join us and learn how you and your organization can help build support for federal investments to restore the lakes and better our communities. Workshop topics will cover:

  • Latest public opinion polling data from around the Great Lakes region
  • How to effectively communicate about Great Lakes restoration
  • How to answer tough questions
  • How to use social media to advance your advocacy goals
  • A tool kit with tips and template materials

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March 31st 2016

New Poll: Great Lakes Restoration Supported by Huge Majority of Voters across Political Spectrum

Read poll data, questions at http://www.healthylakes.org/2016-poll

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (March 31, 2016) – A new 8-state, Great Lakes regional opinion survey finds overwhelming support for continuing the federal government’s efforts to improve the health of the Great Lakes. More than eight in ten residents – 86 percent – approve of the government spending over $300 million a year to clean up toxic waste and bacteria, reduce run-off pollution from cities and farms, and protect and rebuild wetlands.  More than six in ten residents – 63 percent – strongly support continued funding.  Only 9 percent want to reduce federal funds for this purpose.

The poll was commissioned by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

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March 22nd 2016

Minnesota River Restored

The Knife River is one of the premier cold-water fisheries in Minnesota. Unfortunately, changes to the Knife River watershed have drastically altered its natural hydrology. Extensive logging in the early 20th Century removed many of the area’s coniferous trees, which increased water flow through the river’s channel by as much as 25 to 33 percent. The excess water crashes into stream banks with tremendous speed and energy, destabilizing the river’s channels. The heavily eroded river banks results in excessive sedimentation that blankets the streambed, covering up crucial spawning grounds for trout and other fish. The sediment also makes the water murkier, decreasing sunlight penetration and reducing the system’s productivity. The river eventually carries this sediment into Lake Superior, a significant source of drinking water for many people. But thanks to grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Minnesota’s Clean Water Fund, the Lake County SWCD is repairing the Knife River’s stream banks to reduce sedimentation. Read more here.

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