Healthy Lakes Healthy Lives


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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April 18th 2018

U.S. Senators Reject Attempt to Weaken Protections from Aquatic Invasive Species

A bad bill that would exempt ships from the Clean Water Act was defeated today. Photo credit: David Keith

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (April 18, 2018)—In a major victory for clean water, outdoor recreation, and local economies across the country, the U.S. Senate today rejected attempts to weaken Clean Water Act protections to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering U.S. waters through the discharge of ballast water.


The Senate rejected a motion to limit debate on the Coast Guard reauthorization bill that contained the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act—a bill that would exempt the shipping industry from the Clean Water Act and leave the nation’s rivers, lakes, and oceans vulnerable to aquatic invasive species. The vote was 56 to 42 with 60 votes needed to move forward.


Conservation groups, including Alliance for the Great Lakes, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Northwest Environmental Advocates said:


“This is a huge victory for the millions of people, communities, and businesses who want to put an end to the environmental and economic harm wrought by aquatic invasive species. We thank the members of the U.S. Senate who stood up for our clean water, fish and wildlife, outdoor recreation, and economy. The Clean Water Act offers the most effective defense against non-native invaders. We applaud U.S. Senators who recognized that instead of finding ways to exempt the shipping industry from cleaning up its act, it’s time to let the Clean Water Act do what it does best—and what it has done effectively for more than 40 years—protect U.S. waters that people depend on every day for their health, jobs, and way of life. We look forward to working with the U.S. Senate to pass a clean Coast Guard bill, while ensuring that we uphold the vision of the Clean Water Act to protect all of our nation’s iconic waters for people now and generations to come.”



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  • 2018 Great Lakes Conference

    We are postponing the Great Lakes conference. It will not take place in Detroit next week on Oct. 17-18. The hotel workers are on strike and the Coalition has decided not to host the conference next week. We are re-scheduling it for some time in the spring of 2019. 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.