Today the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced 30 Great Lakes restoration grant awards through its Sustain Our Great Lakes Program. The projects are being funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which provided $8.5 million to the Sustain Our Great Lakes Program in 2011 for improving the quality and connectivity of tributary, wetland and coastal habitats in the Great Lakes basin.
Projects are being funded in the Great Lakes states of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, and Ohio as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. See the full list of projects here. The projects will put people to work and benefit communities by producing the short-term results of restoring fish and wildlife habitat, controlling invasive species, updating stream crossings, and improving fish passage.
“We have made great strides in protecting our Great Lakes, but we still have much to do. This funding from the Sustain Our Great Lakes program is an investment that will continue the progress that we have made so far, and will ensure this natural resource is available for future generations to enjoy.”
In the long run, these projects will help sustain the tourism, hunting, angling and recreational opportunities that people cherish in the Great Lakes region. We know that spending money on restoration is one of the best returns in the federal budget. Just this spring, economists found a 6-to-1 return in investment for restoration dollars going to clean up of Muskegon Lake, an area of concern in Southwest Michigan.
The longer we wait, the more it will cost to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Today’s announcement by Sustain Our Great Lakes illustrates that there are groups in the region ready and able to do the work needed to clean up the Lakes. Congress and the Administration should continue to support this important work by restoring funding for Great Lakes programs in the 2012 budget and providing $475 million in the 2013 federal budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.