For an example of why investing in Great Lakes restoration makes sense for communities and the environment, there’s no better place to showcase the progress that’s been made than Cleveland.
Lake Erie today teems with a world-class walleye fishery that generates millions of dollars from tourism and recreation. Most of the direct point-sources of pollution have been cleaned up and some of the most toxic sites have been remediated. Public access to parts of the waterfront has been restored.
Although Cleveland offers an incredible success story, there’s much more work to be done. Lake Erie continues to be threatened by toxic contaminants, and faces growing problems from invasive species and polluted urban runoff, which degrades water quality and harms habitat.
People across the Cleveland area are coming together to tackle those problems, and we’ve assembled a collection of inspiring examples of restoration projects from the greater Cleveland area that are helping people, environment, wildlife and economy.
The report, “Cleveland Great Lakes Restoration Projects Producing Results for People, Communities,” (pdf) details innovative projects that could serve as models for other communities. Wetlands are being restored on sites that housed piles of industrial waste. Fish habitat is being created by repurposing part of an old, abandoned marina. Streams and rivers are being given more natural hydrological forms to reduce flooding and sediment pollution. Neighbors are being enlisted to maintain rain barrels and rain gardens to reduce the impact of run-off on a nearby stream.
These kinds of exciting projects are producing results. They are improving water quality and allowing native wildlife to return. They’re also enhancing the economy and creating jobs. But we need to keep giving people the tools to make progress. That’s why President Obama and Governor Romney need to sign the Great Lakes Pledge and commit to maintain restoration funding and action to permanently address the Asian carp crisis. Now is not the time to cut back on the nation’s commitment to protecting the iconic resource of the Great Lakes.