Contact: 
Lindsey Bacigal, BacigalL@nwf.org, (734) 887-7113   
Jordan Lubetkin, Lubetkin@nwf.org, (734) 904-1589   

Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition

January 20, 2022 (ANN ARBOR, MICH.)—The U.S. House held a hearing today on two bills that support the restoration of fish and wildlife habitat in the Great Lakes region. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition supports both bills, the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization Act of 2021 (H.R. 5973) and the Coastal Habitat Conservation Act of 2021 (R.R. 4092), as an important component of restoring the Great Lakes and the species that rely on it.

“These programs are essential for the successful restoration and protection of the Great Lakes, the many species that rely on them, and the recreational opportunities that so many people enjoy,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Federal investments to restore the Lakes have been producing results, but serious threats remain. Continuing to fund these programs will help us maintain the progress we’re seeing and benefit local communities around the region.”

Kira Davis, a Tribal Citizen of Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and program director of Conservation Resource Alliance, provided testimony during the virtual hearing, held by the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. Davis is a governance Board member of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

“The value of [these bills] … is the recognition and support provided to the vital zones working as a conduit between land and water,” wrote Kira Davis in testimony to the subcommittee (read her testimony). “These zones, such as wetlands, coastlines, riparian corridors, and stream embankments can be overlooked even though these sensitive corridors are where most wildlife, aquatic life and other indicator species thrive. In my culture and by science standards, all is connected, and without addressing impacts to these conduits, we are only creating short term solutions to protect the natural system without considering generations to come.”

The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization Act of 2021, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), reauthorizes funding that supports activities such as dam removals, wetland restoration, and species recovery.

The Coastal Habitat Conservation Act of 2021, a national program, supports actions to protect, restore, and enhance coastal habitats, including those in the Great Lakes region.

Since 2004, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has been harnessing the collective power of more than 170 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at HealthyLakes.org or follow us on Twitter @HealthyLakes.

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