Great Lakes/Atlantic Region promotes economic benefits restoration to Congress

DU Director of Public Policy Gildo Tori brought company to meet with members of Congress on the economic benefits of Great Lakes restoration. In cooperation with and hosted by the Healing Our Waters Coalition, Tori; Jim Nichols of Carry Manufacturing in Caro, Mich.; and Michigan State University master’s student Ryan Boyer met with six Michigan congressional offices in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 4.

“We frequently tout the environmental and recreational benefits of habitat restoration, such as more habitat for wildlife and people, better water quality and a healthier environment,” Tori said. “So, on this trip we wanted to highlight that restoration means jobs in manufacturing, construction and tourism, not only in the Great Lakes, but also beyond.” 

For example, Nichols owns Carry Manufacturing, which employs 10 full-time and two part-time staff members. The company builds large-scale water pumps for a variety of uses across the country, as well as internationally. Ducks Unlimited has used Carry Manufacturing pumps in several of its habitat restoration projects throughout the Great Lakes region. Nichols said the business from Great Lakes restoration projects has kept his company stable during lean times and has provided consistent work for his staff. 

Boyer shared with members of Congress the research he is conducting on breeding mallards in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. His work evaluates habitat types most productive for mallards, the most harvested bird in the United States, and will help guide wetland restoration work by DU, other conservation organizations and state and federal agencies to maximize mallard production.

Habitat restoration fuels important economic activities such as manufacturing, travel and tourism and outdoor-based recreation on par with many agricultural products and businesses. It is important to share that story with Congress as evidence that the investment made in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes provides multifaceted benefits.