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May 19th 2017

Weekly News Roundup: Harmful Algal Blooms, Ballast Water, and More

In case you missed the past week in Great Lakes restoration news:


The Toledo Blade reports on this year’s International Association for Great Lakes Research Conference, which was held this week in Detroit. Among the topics of discussion was the potential for harmful algal blooms to become more prevalent in Lake Erie’s central basin.


The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill this week that would loosen regulations against ballast water discharges by cargo ships, reports mLive. Environmental groups argue that this would harm efforts to prevent invasive species from entering the Great Lakes.


The Star Tribune reports on the establishment of the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Management in Ann Arbor. Funded by a $20 million federal grant, the center will research important Great Lakes topics such as climate change, invasive species, and harmful algal blooms.


The Toledo Blade reports on a federal lawsuit filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over the Agency’s refusal to rule on Lake Erie’s impairment status. Lake Erie has been subject to numerious harmful algal blooms over the past several years, including the 2014 bloom that contaminated drinking water in Toledo.

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May 15th 2017

Removing Invasive Plants Restores Habitat at Times Beach

Located at the confluence of the Niagara River, the Buffalo River, and Lake Erie, Times Beach is a focal point for migrating birds and pollinators seeking food, shelter, and breeding grounds. The site contains a wide range of habitat types that support many different species: a pond hosts waterfowl and herons; seasonal mudflats attract migratory shorebirds; while upland meadows and forests provide additional resources and canopy habitat. Unfortunately, this vital ecosystem has been significantly altered by decades of human activity. Due to its convenient location near both the Buffalo River and Buffalo Harbor, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began dumping dredged materials at Times Beach in the mid-1960s. Dumping foreign materials facilitated the spread of invasive plants throughout Times Beach, displacing the native plants that birds and wildlife rely on and causing a significant decline in species diversity throughout Times Beach. Now thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a coalition of local governments, citizens groups, and the Army Corps of Engineers have partnered to remove invasive plants from Times Beach and restore its natural ecology. Read more here.

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May 12th 2017

Weekly News Roundup: Infrastructure, Lake Ontario Water Levels, and More

In case you missed the past week in Great Lakes restoration:


The Green Bay Press Gazette reports on the progress the city of Green Bay is making towards replacing its lead piping. The city plans to completely replace its lead pipes by 2021.


The rapidly rising water levels of Lake Ontario have begun eroding parts of the shoreline, threatening the stability of several lakeshore homes, reports mLive.


New York State is providing over $136,000 in environmental grants, according to the Times Union. The funds will go to colleges and agencies studying issues including invasive species, endangered wildlife, and environmental contaminants.


Great Lakes Echo investigates how a dam removal on Michigan’s Grand River is complicated by both the need to contain the invasive sea lamprey and protect the endangered snuffbox mussel.

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May 11th 2017

Chambers Grove Park Shoreline Naturalization Project

Thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chambers Grove Park near Duluth, Minn. has been improved. The shoreline of the park was designed during the days when the St. Louis River was more heavily industrialized, and so the park ended abruptly at the river’s edge. By smoothing the slope of the shoreline to naturally connect the park to the river, habitat has been restored. Fishing opportunities at the park and a kayak launch are expected thanks to the restoration work as well. Read more here.

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May 11th 2017

Washington Update: May 11, 2017

The budget for fiscal year 2017 has been wrapped up and now focus has shifted to fiscal year 2018. Minor cuts were proposed, and mostly avoided in FY2017’s budget, but major cuts were cued up by President Trump’s proposed budget. Keeping track of where we are on the budget can be confusing–please check out our budget FAQ for more information.

The House and Senate Budget Committees are moving forward with drafting budget resolutions that will set the overall funding levels appropriators use as they allocate funding for federal programs. Budget committee chairs in both the House and Senate look to be drafting resolutions that will balance the federal budget in 10 years, which the President’s budget will also try to do. According to press reports, White House officials are crafting a fiscal 2018 budget for the President that aims to wipe out the deficit through a combination of robust economic growth, steep cuts in certain means-tested entitlement programs, and other savings, such as the cuts to non-defense discretionary programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

In other Great Lakes news, Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) circulated a letter urging U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to commit to keeping regional agency offices open. Rumors had been circulating that the Great Lakes regional office–Region Five–would be closed due to proposed budget cuts in fiscal year 2018. In the letter, Senators highlight the importance of regional offices in the ability of the EPA to respond quickly to threats in the region. Read the letter in full, here.

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  • Washington Update: May 11, 2017

    With the budget for fiscal year 2017 finalized, Congress can turn its attention to fiscal year 2018. Big cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and more were proposed by President Trump. We're watching Congress to see how they respond to the President's proposed budget. Read the latest here.

  • Tools for Great Lakes Advocates

      We need your help! Let Members of Congress know how important the Great Lakes are to you: for swimming, for fishing, for our drinking water, and for our way of life. Find tips and tools here for reaching out to Members of Congress and engaging in the conversation.

  • Our Latest Success Story

    Check out our latest success story: Restoring habitat and removing dams along the Huron River has restored its ecological health, expanded recreational opportunities, and re-oriented riverfront communities towards fully utilizing the river. Read more here. Click here for a full list of our success stories.

  • 2017 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

    13th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference! The location and dates for the 13th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference has been announced. We will be in Buffalo, N.Y. October 17-19, 2017. As more information becomes available in the spring, please check back with our Great Lakes Restoration Conference website.