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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Monroe County BDC supports the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

The GLRI has been invaluable in protecting Lake Erie, but is eliminated in the new proposed federal budget. The likely result would be that we lose the battle of toxic algae. Now is not the time to jeopardize past success by cutting the program. Lake Erie is a priceless public resource and deserves protection for present and future generations. For the sake of Lake Erie, and the 11 million people who rely on it for fresh drinking water, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative needs to be continued.

We ask for your support in sustaining the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Below is an article reprinted from the Monroe News, April 21, 2017 edition. Please take a moment to read it  …

by Helen Taylor
The Nature Conservancy

In 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was launched to accelerate efforts to protect and restore one of the world’s greatest freshwater treasures. Since then, $1.75 billion of GLRI funds have been invested in battling the biggest threats to the Great Lakes — invasive species, degraded water quality and habitat loss — with significant returns.

But environmental progress made through GLRI could soon come to a screeching halt. The president’s recent budget proposal released on March 16 calls on Congress to eliminate GLRI entirely. We feel strongly that this is a mistake and are urging Congress to restore funding for this successful program that has received constant bipartisan support. At The Nature Conservancy, we see first-hand the remarkable impact that GLRI has on our region’s lands and waters. GLRI work provides incredible value for both nature and the 30 million people who live around the Great Lakes.

GLRI funding creates benefits for citizens such as cleaner drinking water, more opportunities for hunting, fishing, boating, wildlifeviewing and other recreational activities, improved waterways for commercial and sport fisheries, and protected groundwater resources.

Additionally, restored coastal natural areas provide essential habitat for rare species of plants and wildlife found nowhere else on Earth.

The benefits of this kind of work extends into the Great Lakes economy — the world’s third largest regional economy — too. A detailed study by The Brookings Institution found that fully implementing the Great Lakes restoration strategy would generate $80 billion to $100 billion in benefits, including $6.5 billion to $11.8 billion in direct benefits from tourism, fishing and recreation and $50 million to $125 million in reduced costs to municipalities.

While great strides have been made to protect the Great Lakes through GLRI funding, there is so much more work to be done. We urge Congress to fully fund the GLRI at $300 million per year for the next five years to continue this vital program and leave a legacy for future generations.

We urge you to contact your Congressional representatives at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/ members/MI.

Helen Taylor is the State Director of Michigan Great Lakes Project Board of Directors. Contact her at htaylor@tnc.org