Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, led members of the task force in urging Senate appropriators to fund critical Great Lakes programs as they consider spending bills for the 2015 fiscal year.
In five letters to Senate Appropriations subcommittee chairmen, Great Lakes senators highlighted programs that preserve and protect the lakes. The funding, they argue, is critical to the millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and quality of life.
The letters highlight the following programs as funding priorities for the Great Lakes Task Force:
– The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. GLRI supports a cooperative inter-agency initiative to protect and restore the integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem;
– Funds to support the Great Lakes navigation system, including for dredging, maintenance and repair of breakwaters and lock upgrades;
– The Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which plays an important role in coordinating fishery management and research, including work to combat and control the spread of invasive species, particularly the aggressive sea lamprey;
– The Corps of Engineers’ emergency authority to prevent the transfer of aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin;
– The International Joint Commission, which helps manage shared waters on the U.S.-Canadian border;
– The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Oceans, Coasts and Great Lakes Research program, which supports advanced scientific research, observation and monitoring activities that research Great Lakes habitats and environmental processes;
– The National Coastal Zone Management Program grants, which assist states with approved coastal zone management plans for the protection, restoration, and enhancement of coastal zone areas.
Press Release, April 7, 2014