NWF Works to Secure Funding for Great Lakes Restoration

National Wildlife Federation urges U.S. Congress to act on President Obama’s $475 million Great Lakes restoration plan.

07-20-2009 // Jeff Alexander

As part of an effort led by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, the National Wildlife Federation today called on Congress and the public to support President Obama’s $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The coalition’s action came on the eve of a series of public hearings around the region regarding the future of Great Lakes restoration.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition — which represents more than 100 conservation groups including NWF — is also urging residents of the Great Lakes region to get involved in efforts to secure full funding of the initiative, which would clean up toxic sediments, combat invasive species and restore fish and wildlife habitat.

“The president’s plan is an unprecedented initiative that begins to give the Great Lakes the medicine they need to recover from decades of abuse and neglect,” said the National Wildlife Federation’s Jeff Skelding, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “This is an investment in the health of the Great Lakes and the millions of people who rely on them for work, recreation and drinking water.”

As the lead coordinating agency for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding a series of public meetings this summer to gather input on its fiscal year 2010 spending plan, priorities for fiscal year 2011 activities, and an overall multi-year action plan that spells out the Federal commitment to restoring the Great Lakes.

The hearings come as Congress is debating funding for Great Lakes restoration.

The president’s $475 million plan is a first step in a $20 billion restoration program proposed by government agencies and nonprofit groups in 2005. It would address some of the most urgent threats to the Great Lakes, including:

  • $146 million to clean up toxic substances and Areas of Concern.
  • $60 million to prevent or remove aquatic invasive species.
  • $97 million to improve near-shore health and pollution prevention.
  • $105 million for habitat and wildlife protection and restoration.
  • $65 million to evaluate and monitor progress.

The president’s restoration initiative invests in priorities that track closely with a comprehensive strategy that has won the endorsement of the eight-state region’s mayors, governors, businesses, industry and environmental leaders.

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