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LATEST NEWS

May 15th 2018

Washington Update: Busy Week for the Great Lakes

The Federal Government plays an important role in working with the states to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Photo credit: David Keith

This week is a busy week in the U.S. Congress, as the House and Senate will be taking up several important matters pertaining to Great Lakes restoration and protection. We’ll be following developments closely.

 

Solid Funding for Great Lakes Priorities; Damaging Policies

Today, Tuesday, May 15, at 5:30 p.m. Eastern, the U.S. House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee is discussing its fiscal year 2019 Interior and Environment Bill. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition supports several elements of the bill:

  • It invests $300 million in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to clean up toxic pollution, fight invasive species, restore habitat and wetlands, and reduce polluted runoff.
  • It invests $2.6 billion in the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which provide low-interest loans to communities to fix, upgrade, and build water infrastructure.

 

The Coalition opposes harmful policy provisions in the bill, namely a provision that eliminates Clean Water Act protections that more than 117 million people – and 30 million people in the Great Lakes region – rely on to protect public drinking water.

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May 8th 2018

Rep. Bishop Introduces Resolution Designating Week of Memorial Day as ‘Great Lakes Week’

WASHINGTON – Congressman Mike Bishop (MI-08) today introduced a bipartisan resolution, H.Res. 868, designating the week of Memorial Day as “Great Lakes Week” to highlight the importance of the Great Lakes and promote conservation efforts that protect and preserve these natural resources.

Original cosponsors include: Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), and Chris Collins (R-N.Y.).

Congressman Mike Bishop said, “Memorial Day week is often the kick-off for folks in the Midwest to head to the lakes to explore miles of sandy beaches and bluffs, go boating, and enjoy the beauty of our Great Lakes. As a father and lifelong Michigander, I want my children to enjoy the great outdoors like I did growing up. We all know that ensuring the health of our lakes for future generations requires vigilance, and ‘Great Lakes Week’ is an opportunity to celebrate our lakes and promote responsible conservation with friends and family members to protect our treasured natural resources.”

“What better time to enjoy the Great Lakes than Memorial Day week!” said Robert Lambe, executive secretary of the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Fishery Commission. “The Great Lakes have a lot to offer, from natural beauty to exciting water activities and, of course, world-class fishing. This resolution inspires us to celebrate the lakes and moves us to work hard to protect and improve them for today and for future generations.”

“We happily support the work that the U.S. Congressional delegation continues to do to elevate Great Lakes protection and restoration as a national priority,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Federal restoration investments are producing results, but serious threats remain. We look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate to support robust funding and strong policy solutions that protect our Great Lakes and the millions of people who depend on them for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life.”

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April 30th 2018

Senators Support Full and Robust Water Infrastructure Funding

Clean drinking water benefits all of us, but cities and states need a strong federal partner to maintain infrastructure. Photo from iStock Photo.

Water infrastructure in the Great Lakes region is crumbling, outdated, and leaking. According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over the next 20 years almost $180 billion is needed to repair and upgrade our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Nationally, the cost is even higher.

As appropriators are beginning to make decisions about where to allocate money in Fiscal Year 2019, Senators have sent two letters asking them to consider several kinds of water infrastructure funding. The two letters ask for full and robust funding for:

  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund
  • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
  • Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities grants
  • Reducing Lead in Drinking Water grants
  • Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water Grants

Read the letters here and here.

Many Senators in the Great Lakes region signed on to show their support for this important water infrastructure funding. The letters were circulated by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and signed on to by Great Lakes Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) signed on to support State Revolving Funding letter, specifically.

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April 27th 2018

Senators Request Full Funding for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Federal Government plays an important role in working with the states to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Photo credit: David Keith

Today U.S. senators from Great Lakes states urged colleagues in the U.S. Congress to maintain funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Great Lakes Task Force co-chairs, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Vice-Chair Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), initiated the letter. They were joined on the letter by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.). Read the letter to appropriators here. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative invests in cleaning up toxic pollution, fighting invasive species, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, and reducing run-off that causes toxic algae blooms.

 

Below is an on-the-record quote from Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

 

“We applaud the Great Lakes Senators who have continued to make Great Lakes restoration and protection a national priority. Federal investments are producing results, but more work remains. We look forward to working with public officials to ensure that federal restoration efforts remain on track. Cutting funding now will only make projects harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”

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April 20th 2018

14th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference Request for Workshops and Field trips Now Open

The HOW Coalition’s annual Great Lakes Conference attracts more than 300 people from across the region to discuss cross-cutting and cutting edge Great Lakes issues. This year’s conference will be held at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, October 17-18, 2018.

The Coalition is looking for engaging and compelling proposals for both field trips and presentations at this year’s conference.

download the 2018 call for applications

download the 2018 field trip application

download the 2018 workshop application

  1. Field Trips: The Huron-Erie Corridor, including Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, Western Lake Erie, and their tributaries

 

The Coalition is seeking fun, educational, inspiring and creative proposals for field trips in southeast Michigan to highlight restoration success stories, community projects, environmental challenges, and cultural landmarks.

 

  1. Workshops: Six Great Lakes Issue Areas

 

New this year! Multiple workshop formats. Apply for either:

  • 15 minute talk: A concise and compelling talk on one subject. Max one speaker, no powerpoint slides.
  • 60 minute workshop: Be creative with session format – host a presentation, workshop, training, input session, etc! Up to 3 speakers and one (optional) moderator.

 

 

The Coalition is seeking innovative, creative, engaging and compelling proposals for presentations in the below categories. Preferred applications in all categories will include diverse voices, particularly from underserved communities, communities of color, environmental justice groups, business groups, agricultural producers, anglers/hunters, and Tribes/First Nations. Expanded issue area descriptions are included in the full Request for Proposals (attached).

 

A) National/Tribal/Regional/State/Local Great Lakes Policy Issues

Examine cutting edge policy issues that impact people and the lakes. Presentation topics might include water policy, environmental justice, urban restoration, climate change, water infrastructure, invasive species and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

B) Innovative Great Lakes Restoration Success Stories

Share unique and successful restoration projects that showcase innovation and creativity. This category can also include projects that delve in to the economic benefit of restoration projects.

C) Addressing Environmental Injustices

Discuss environmental justice challenges and successes in your community. Topics may include public health, urban and rural environmental justice issues, drinking water accessibility and affordability, and climate change, among others.

D) Grassroots Action that makes a Difference

Share innovative and compelling stories and strategies used to help win local, state, regional or national Great Lakes victories.

E) Great Lakes Research and Emerging Issues

Explore cutting edge research on existing or emerging threats to the Great Lakes—and what solutions are needed.

F) Skills, Training, and Organizational Development

Provide important skills needed for advancing Great Lakes restoration and protection. Workshops in this category should provide technical assistance or capacity building to attendees.

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  • 2018 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

    Registration is now open for our 2018 Great Lakes Restoration Conference, which will be in Detroit, Mich, October 17 and 18! Looking for information about the conference, including sessions, speakers, scholarships, and how to register? Learn more here.

  • Impact of President Trump’s Budget

    Cuts to key Great Lakes programs as proposed by President Trump will undermine the progress we've been making to restore the lakes. We will look to our congressional champions to restore funding. Learn more about what's at stake for the Great Lakes under the proposed budget. Click here.  

  • Washington Update: March 19, 2018

    Congress is still working on passing a budget for fiscal year 2018. But the budget process for fiscal year 2019 has now begun with the release of President Trump's proposed budget. Read the latest here.

  • Our Latest Success Story

    Check out our latest success story: Restoring the natural curves and riverbank of the Pike River in Wisconsin has reduced flooding and erosion, while increasing fish and wildlife habitat. Read more here. Click here for a full list of our success stories.

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