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July 11th 2014

Honoring the Life of Peter Wege: Great Lakes Advocate, Coalition Founder

Peter Wege, founder of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, died on Monday at the age of 94. Wege, a Grand Rapids businessman, was a lifelong environmentalist and Great Lakes advocate. With his support and leadership, the Wege Foundation provided significant resources in 2004 to start the Coalition and unite the region around the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes. His support was instrumental in making Great Lakes restoration a national priority. Over the last five years, the federal government has invested more than $1.6 billion to restore a resource that more than 30 million people depend on for drinking water.

“On behalf of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and our members, we wish to express our sorrow for the passing of Peter Wege,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “At the same time, it brings us great joy to celebrate the life of a man who was a strong voice for conservation – whose passion and commitment led directly to the betterment of the Great Lakes. His actions have benefited millions of people and will continue to do so well into the future.”

The Grand Rapids Press contains a thoughtful retrospective of Peter Wege’s life.

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July 11th 2014

U.S. House Bill a ‘Step in Right Direction’, More Work Needed for Great Lakes

ANN ARBOR, MICH. – A U.S. House appropriations subcommittee yesterday released a funding bill that maintains Great Lakes restoration funding, but cuts investments to halt sewage contamination and rolls back essential Clean Water Act protections.

“The bill is a step in the right direction for the Great Lakes, but more work is needed,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “While funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is most welcome, we are disappointed in cuts to core programs that will severely inhibit the ability of cities to invest in infrastructure desperately needed to curtail sewer overflows throughout the region. Further, rolling back essential Clean Water Act protections undermines restoration efforts and undercuts a rulemaking process currently underway.” More >

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July 2nd 2014

Read the Latest Field Work Update: Ohio groups take Rep. David Joyce on a Restoration Tour of the Ashtabula River

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition works closely with several member organizations in five targeted states to achieve our goal of restoring the Great Lakes. The work our member organizations do in the field is the backbone of our campaign – it amplifies our impact throughout the Great Lakes region. Read our latest fieldwork update out of Ohio: groups took Rep. David Joyce and his staff on a tour of the Ashtabula River. While the river is still an area of concern, recent improvements made thanks to federal funding have brought the area closer to delisting. Read more here.

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June 26th 2014

New Poll: Ohioans Back Stronger Rules to Stop Farm Field Runoff, Federal Support for Clean Water Act

76 percent of Ohio voters support federal Great Lakes restoration efforts

Columbus, Ohio (June 26, 2014) – Solid majorities of Ohio voters from across political lines want stronger rules to curb farm field runoff, support federal investments to restore the Great Lakes, and agree that the Clean Water Act should cover wetlands and small streams, according to a new poll released today by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, and Ohio Environmental Council.

Read the poll and a summary of the results.

More >

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June 20th 2014

Weekly News Roundup: Harmful Algal Blooms, DDT, Water Levels, and More

In case you missed this past week in Great Lakes conservation news:

According to ABC Cleveland, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission will be receiving help from the EPA in researching the causes and controls of harmful algal blooms (HAB) this summer. Meanwhile, a HAB bill coauthored by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has passed the Senate and is awaiting President Obama’s signature, reports the Columbus Dispatch. The bill will focus federal monitoring and mitigation efforts on freshwater HABs, which have become a severe issue for Lake Erie in the last several years.

Fish caught in Michigan’s Pine River for a local fishing derby have DDT levels 98% lower than they were 15 years ago, according to Great Lakes Echo. This drop in DDT levels is attributed a river sediment cleanup conducted between 2000 and 2006. The Michigan Department of Health warns that the fish are still too contaminated to eat, however.

Second Wave reports on the future of sustainable fishing in Michigan’s Upper Penninsula. The story examines the fishermen and their families, and investigates the ecological threats facing the fish they depend on, particularly the invasive quagga mussel.

The International Joint Commission released a report advising Lake Ontario’s water levels be allowed to fluctuate naturally, reports the Globe and Mail. The lake’s water levels have been controlled for years, but this is very hazardous to the surrounding wetland and floodplain habitats; however, this would potentially necessitate the development of storm surge protections for surrounding homes.

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  • 2014 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

    Registration for the 10th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference is now available! To register, view the agenda, see what field trips are being offered, and to find out more about becoming a conference sponsor or exhibitor, please visit the main conference page.

  • Check out the Latest Update from the Field

    Read our latest field update from Ohio. The Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Ohio Environmental Council share the results of their restoration tour with Representative David Joyce. Learn more.