WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 26, 2019 – Legislation introduced Thursday would reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), expanding federal funding to protect and improve Great Lakes water quality and wildlife habitat.
Ducks Unlimited, the leader in wetland habitat conservation, applauds the Senate and House bills. Senate Bill 2295 is sponsored by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow. House Bill 4031 is sponsored by Ohio Reps. David Joyce and Marcy Kaptur.
The identical bills would reauthorize GLRI for five years. The bill increases the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in FY 2022 and increases funding by $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million in FY 2026. Congress each year appropriates funding to 16 federal agencies that disburse the funding to organizations like Ducks Unlimited.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was established in 2010 and is dedicated to restoring the Great Lakes by investing in five focus areas:
- Toxic substances and areas of concern
- Invasive species
- Nearshore health and nonpoint source pollution
- Habitat and wildlife protection and restoration
- Foundations for future restoration actions
The Great Lakes provide drinking water for more than 30 million people the habitat for 3,500 species of ducks, fish and other wildlife. Since 2010 the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has funded projects that target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem.
Human development has greatly impacted these waterways. Wetlands have disappeared, pollutants have destroyed drinking water sources and invasive species have choked out native plants and animals.
Ducks Unlimited uses GLRI funding to support Great Lakes wetland habitats. Ducks Unlimited has protected, enhanced or restored nearly 25,000 acres of wetlands on 80 projects using GLRI funding.
Jason Hill, Ducks Unlimited’s director of conservation for the Great Lakes, said Ducks Unlimited thanks GLRI legislation sponsors and co-sponsors.
“Coastal wetlands are Ducks Unlimited’s biggest priority in the Great Lakes,” Hill said. “Protecting, restoring and enhancing these threatened habitats are crucial for birds, fisheries, water quality and erosion control. The GLRI has fueled a new era of conservation across the watershed and strengthened public-private partnerships to get it done.”
Click here to see an interactive map of the numerous Ducks Unlimited projects using GLRI funding.
Many of Ducks Unlimited’s GLRI projects improve the Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Areas of Concern, locations designated by the EPA as having experienced environmental degradation. Local human activities in these areas have resulted in significant impairment of how the waters are used.
The GLRI has provided more than $2.4 billion to 4,706 projects over nearly 10 years.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 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. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.