Congressman Brian Higgins has announced that the approval of H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act, which authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), will provide $300 million in funding for Great Lakes projects.
“Cleanup of the Great Lakes is providing long-term environmental benefits and immediate economic returns,” said Congressman Higgins. “Continued funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is critical to keeping momentum going in Western New York and throughout the region sharing the largest supply of fresh water in the world.”
The Senate previously approved the Water Resources Development act but GLRI authorization was not included in the original House of Representatives bill.
An amendment to include the GLRI authorization was presented by Rep. David Joyce with the support of Congressman Higgins and several colleagues on the bipartisan Congressional Great Lakes Task Force. The amendment was also backed by the Great Lakes Commission which estimates that full Great Lakes Restoration implementation will generate $50 billion in long-term economic benefits for the Great Lakes Region.
More than $40 million in federal GLRI funding has supported Western New York projects since 2010. Examples of GLRI funded projects include: habitat restoration at Times Beach in Buffalo, dredging of the Buffalo Harbor, shoreline improvements along the Buffalo River at Riverbend, removal of contaminants from the river, a cleanup of Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, and green infrastructure investments along Niagara Street.