The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition today issued its support to U.S. House and Senate leaders who are pushing to restore funding to Great Lakes programs. The group of bi-partisan public officials is asking federal appropriators to restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to $300 million weeks after the Obama Administration recommended cutting the program from $300 million to $275 million. More >
Groups: Permanent Solution to Invasive Species Crisis Needs to Remain Priority for Army Corps, States and Congress
Only viable solution is to physically separate Great Lakes, Mississippi River basins
Conservation groups are urging the Obama Administration and U.S. Congress to maintain their focus on a permanent, long-term solution to an invasive species crisis that is putting communities, businesses, and industry at risk. The groups submitted comments yesterday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in response to the agency’s congressionally mandated study outlining ways to prevent the transfer of invasive organisms between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. Waterways in Chicago, built more than 100 years ago, artificially connect the two water bodies, opening both to destruction from aquatic invasive species like Asian carp.
The Army Corps study—known as the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study—clearly identifies physically separating the two iconic waters as the most effective way to prevent the spread of various invasive fish, parasites, grasses, and other organisms. And in their comments submitted yesterday, conservation advocates are urging public officials to take immediate risk reduction steps and swiftly identify a permanent solution to achieve physical separation. More >
The Macatawa River in western Michigan flows into Lake Macatawa and is part of the Lake Michigan watershed. The area is prone to flash floods that cause erosion and sedimentation. Much of the sediment introduced into the water system is also high in phosphorous, due to the use of fertilizers and other chemicals. Thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and a conservation easement from a local business, the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Department is addressing these issues—and creating a new public green space while they’re at it. Read more here.
A letter to U.S. House Appropriators indicating support for funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million in 2015 is being finalized, with the sign on letter having closed on Friday. A total of 46 Representatives signed on, with at least one from each Great Lakes state. A set of sign on letters is still moving through the Senate, showing support for the GLRI, action on Asian carp, maintaining the coastal zone management program, dredging, and fisheries programs. Your Senator has until April 2 to sign on and you may contact them to urge them to sign on via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
The Illinois Beach State Park in northeastern Illinois is one of the last relatively undeveloped stretches of Lake Michigan shoreline between Chicago and Milwaukee. In the Village of Winthrop Harbor, located just upstream of the park, there is a severely eroded ravine that is tributary to Dead Dog Creek. Stormwater runoff picks up sediment high in phosphorous, nitrogen, and other pollutants from the fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals used in the residential area; the sediment and pollutants flow into Dead Dog Creek, which introduces them to Lake Michigan and its surrounding wetlands. Thanks to two grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission is addressing these issues. Read more here.