Coalition to Congress: Don’t Cut Successful Great Lakes Programs that Protect Drinking Water, Public Health, Jobs

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition today is calling on the U.S. Congress to maintain funding for successful Great Lakes programs that protect drinking water, safeguard public health, create jobs and uphold a way of life for millions of people.

Jeff Skelding, campaign director of the coalition, said:

Great Lakes restoration efforts supported by the federal government are improving the lives of millions of Americans in the Great Lakes region. Restoration programs deliver results and offer some of the best returns on the dollar in the federal budget. Cutting Great Lakes funds only stalls action making the problems worse and more costly to solve. We urge Congress to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million in 2011 to protect our drinking water, public health, jobs and way of life.

Read the press release here.

See compelling before-and-after photos of a successful river restoration project in Benzie County, Mich., where Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds are helping the Benzie County Road Commission replace failing, eroding culverts with a new bridge that will improve water quality, allow fish passage and save taxpayers money on maintenance and dredging  costs.

You can also find more information about efforts to restore the Buffalo River, one the region’s designated Areas of Concern “toxic hot-spots,” where high levels of PAH’s, PCB’s, lead and mercury in the river sediment that pose a health risk to people and wildlife.
A fact sheet on a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-backed project to allow lake sturgeon to bypass two hydroelectric dams in Marinette, Wis., and Menominee, Mich., can be found here.

Read more about compelling wetland restoration projects in Ohio and Michigan being undertaken by Ducks Unlimited and other partners, thanks to funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. You can also read about the jobs created by the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge restoration project here.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs has produced a short, 8-minute video that documents the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge restoration project—one of the first completed Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects. Local business leaders of Frankenmuth tell the story themselves how federal funding helped employ excavators, engineers, plumbers and electricians to improve the local environment and economy.

You can learn more about how Great Lakes restoration projects are producing results in two of the coalition’s reports, “Progress and Promise: 21 Stories that Showcase Successful Great Lakes Restoration Projects,” and “Faces of Restoration: People Working to Restore the Great Lakes.”

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