In case you missed the past week in Great Lakes restoration news:
Late last week, the Trump Administration’s initial budget proposal leaked. The proposed budget would cut funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97 percent, from $300 million to $10 million. Now, Great Lakes residents and advocates are reacting to the budget numbers. The Toledo Blade reports that mayors from around the region are alarmed by the severity of the proposed cuts, believing that they would undermine lake restoration efforts by local governments. Meanwhile, Great Lakes conservation groups will travel to Washington, D.C. next week to meet with lawmakers to advocate for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, reports the Star Tribune.
Representative Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) has written an editorial for the Midland Daily News to challenge the proposed cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In the editorial, Rep. Kildee emphasizes the impact of Great Lakes funding on the region’s economy, and the bipartisan support for Great Lakes funding among the region’s lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the Duluth News Tribune reports that the leaked budget would also significantly cut funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including eliminating funding for the Sea Grant program across the U.S. According to mLive, the proposed cuts to NOAA could significantly hamper Great Lakes fishery research, beach and boater safety, environmental protection, algal bloom monitoring, icebreaking, maritime security, and rescue capabilities.
In other news, the U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian regulators say they’ve inspected the ballast tanks of every saltwater ship that entered the Great Lakes in 2016, reports the Duluth News Tribune. The Coast Guard claims they’ve now achieved 100 percent inspection of saltwater ships for seven consecutive years, measures that are credited with reducing new invasive species in the lakes.
The Sandusky Register reports that the Erie County Health Department has asked the Ohio EPA to ban the dumping of dredging materials in Erie County Harbor. This is an appeal of an earlier decision by Ohio EPA in February to allow open lake dumping.