Jul 29, 2019

New Bill May Fund Wetland Restoration

If signed, Senate Bill 2295 will aid in reducing runoff & removing dams

If signed, Senate Bill 2295 will aid in reducing runoff & removing dams

New legislation may help boost funding for the Great Lakes. According to Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition press release, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) are leading the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The senators introduced Senate Bill 2295. If signed, it will increase the initiative’s authorization from $300 million per year to $475 million per year over five years.

Since 2010, the initiative has provided funding for 4,700 projects. According to Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, a number of these projects have cleaned toxic hot spots in the region and supports farming that reduces polluted runoff on more than 700,000 acres of land. Funding has also helped remove dams and river barriers that resulted in fish swimming into rivers that have been absent of fish for decades. Currently, more than half of the toxic hot spots identified still need to be cleaned. According to Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, current wetland restoration addresses about one-fifth of the estimated total wetland acres needed for recovery.

“This bill rewards a strong and successful program, while recognizing we have work left to do. We appreciate Senators Stabenow, Portman and Baldwin, and Representatives Joyce and Kaptur for introducing this important legislation that will help protect the drinking water and quality of life for more than 30 million people,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been producing results around the region through habitat restoration and pollution clean-up, but serious threats remain. Toxic hotspots, harmful algal blooms, invasive species, and unsafe drinking water from emerging contaminants like PFAS pose risks to people, fish and wildlife. By increasing our investment in this successful program we can accelerate the progress we’ve seen over the last several years.”

To see the full list of senators who co-sponsored legislation for the bill, read the full press release here.