What’s at Stake: The Progress
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is producing results. Since 2010, almost 4,000 river-miles have been cleared and restored for fish to swim in them once again. More than 150,000 acres of wetlands, coastal areas, and islands have been restored or protected thanks to funding from the GLRI. Also, more than 100,000 acres in the eight-state region are focused on controlling invasive species. Aggressive and invasive Asian carp are also the target of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative investments, used to protect the Great Lakes. In the last seven years, three highly polluted Areas of Concern have been cleaned up and taken off of the list–Presque Isle, Pa.; Deer Lake, Mich.; and White Lake, Mich. A further four of these areas are close to being removed from the list thanks to the extensive clean up and restoration that’s happened under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
What’s at Stake: The Threats
Despite the progress being made by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, there’s still more work to do. If the budget proposed by President Trump were to be enacted, with $0 allocated for the GLRI, the nation would have a lot to lose. Clean up work in the 19 remaining Areas of Concern would slow and many projects would never happen. Asian carp prevention would lose funding, slowing and weakening the region’s ability to stop these aggressive invaders from entering the Great Lakes. Restoration work across the region would slow down, if not stop all together in some places. And many folks would lose their jobs: the Great Lakes National Program Office staff are funded under the GLRI as are many state-based positions.
How can I help?
Given the sharp cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget, our main focus has shifted to Members of Congress. Representatives and Senators will now make decisions on how much money should be allocated to which programs and we very much hope they will restore Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding to $300 million. We are lucky to have strong and varied support from the Great Lakes Congressional Delegation (see how your member acted in support of the Great Lakes here). Please reach out to ask your member for the strongest support they are able to give for our Great Lakes.
- Follow coverage of the budget in your local newspaper. After budget stories run, especially those which cover the GLRI cuts, write a letter to the editor sharing your concerns. Read the Letter to the Editor Guidance here. Let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if your letter gets published!
- Reach out to your Member of Congress on social media. You can make sure they’ve seen any editorials about the budget and the GLRI that have run in local papers, you can share your personal story about why investments in the Great Lakes matter to you, or you can thank them for any supportive actions they’ve taken. Read the Social Media Guidance here, with a full list of handles here.
Great Lakes Communications Toolkit
How Members Have Supported Great Lakes and What Members are Saying about the Great Lakes
Letter to the Editor Guidance
State-by-state Success Stories
Interactive Great Lakes Project Map
Great Lakes Commission Fact Sheets: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin
Social Media Guidance
Social Media handles, Great Lakes states