National Wildlife Federation Releases a Unifying Great Lakes Regional Agenda for Congress

Conservation Organization Urges Action on Water Quality and Affordability, Wildlife, Climate, Equity

ANN ARBOR, Mich.  The National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center unveiled its policy priorities today for the 117th Congress, urging it to prioritize clean water, ecosystem restoration, strong wildlife and public lands management, youth education, and climate resiliency in an equitable manner. The organization also stressed that bipartisan support for the Great Lakes can help unify a divided country around shared values and priorities.

“The implementation of these recommendations would ensure that our water and vast natural resources remain healthy, are accessible for all people, and continue to provide for people and wildlife,” said Mike Shriberg, Great Lakes regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation. “We urge our region’s Congressional leaders to demonstrate their support for our shared natural resources, and the people, businesses, and wildlife that depend on them.”

The National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center serves the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, with affiliates in each state. The organization detailed six policy priorities in the region, including:

  • Protecting and restoring the Great Lakes
  • Safeguarding drinking water
  • Protecting and restoring the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
  • Improving management of public lands and wildlife
  • Mobilizing the next generation of stewards; and
  • Advancing climate resiliency.

Specific policy recommendations include an increase in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as well as the creation of new restoration programs for the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The National Wildlife Federation recommends solutions to keep invasive species like Asian carp out of the Great Lakes as well as removing the Line 5 oil pipeline from the Straits of Mackinac. The recommendations also include protection for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, conservation of the Great Northwoods, and passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

The National Wildlife Federation asks Congress to focus on making drinking water affordable and safe through water infrastructure investment, protecting people and wildlife from PFAS contamination, and reducing harmful algal blooms. The recommendations also call for investments in a low-carbon future and the creation of a 21st-Century Civilian Conservation Corps. Throughout the policy agenda, the National Wildlife Federation urges implementation of its priorities through the lens of equity and environmental justice.

These Congressional priorities link and align with the Great Lakes regional priorities outlined for the Biden Administration released last week.

“You can’t have a healthy ecosystem unless everyone within it has the opportunity to thrive,” said Shriberg. “We see strong opportunities for the Great Lakes and clean water to be great uniters even in these divisive times.”

The full report can be accessed and downloaded here

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