President signs legislation in support of Great Lakes

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – November 2, 2009 – Historic legislation aimed at the restoring the Great Lakes was signed by President Obama Friday after the House and Senate approved the measure last week. According to Ducks Unlimited, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will provide $475 million for a comprehensive program to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Ducks Unlimited stands ready to turn this financial commitment into cleaner water and better habitat for waterfowl, wildlife and citizens of the Great Lakes and beyond.

"Congress and the President have delivered on their promise to help protect and restore one of our national treasures," said Robert D. Hoffman, Director of Ducks Unlimited's Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. "We are grateful to all of the Great Lakes partners and Congressional and Administration champions for making this funding a reality."

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was proposed by the President to address the most serious issues that face the Great Lakes. Loss of habitat, invasive species, nonpoint source pollution, and toxic sediments threaten the health and economic well being of residents and damages the United States largest fresh water resource. Program administrators have a valuable document in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, a blueprint developed by more than 1,500 people representing governmental, industry, and nonprofit groups to set priorities and identify needs, which will receive funding for its most pressing programs.

"DU has been working with our federal, state and conservation partners to develop a list of habitat conservation projects that will protect and restore thousands of acres in the Great Lakes watershed, said Gildo Tori, Great Lakes/Atlantic Region Director of Public Policy. "We are ready to act and put more habitat on the ground and in the water so that our wildlife and citizens can reap sustainable environmental and economic benefits."

Ducks Unlimited works in every Great Lake state restoring and protecting wetlands and associated habitat. These lands supply the region with cleaner water, economic activity and recreation. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will provide much needed resources for a healthier Great Lakes region, and Ducks Unlimited will facilitate the success of the program through advocacy, scientific support, and project delivery.

Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.

Kristin Schrader