‘With some simple improvements, a strong program can be even better.’
Federal Great Lakes restoration efforts over the next five years need to be better aligned with goals of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, take into account climate change impacts, improve how progress is monitored, and not be undermined by bad federal policies, according to comments submitted today to the U.S. EPA by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
“Federal Great Lakes restoration investments have produced tremendous results in communities across the region,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “With some simple improvements, a strong program can be even better.”
Read comments on the action plan submitted by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
Among the Coalition’s recommendations:
- Increase science, monitoring and assessment into restoration efforts so that activities can be adjusted and targeted to ensure these efforts are as efficient and effective as possible;
- Integrate climate change into the plan to strengthen the resiliency of the Great Lakes so they can adapt to a warming climate;
- Ensure that bad federal policies (such as weakening Clean Water Act protections that leaves the door open to wetland destruction) do not undermine current restoration efforts; and,
- Better align federal restoration efforts with the goals of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan is the blueprint for federal restoration efforts that will guide federal funding priorities for the next five years, from fiscal year 2015-2019. The Coalition’s comments to the EPA come as the U.S. Congress debates the fate of restoration funding.
“While we look forward to continued progress in restoring the Great Lakes, it’s important to remember that future restoration efforts hinge on both a strong plan and funding to implement it,” said Ambs. “The bottom line is that the nation needs to maintain its commitment to restoration, because no matter how good the next plan is, without funding it will go nowhere.”
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 115 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at www.healthylakes.org or follow us on twitter @healthylakes.