WASHINGTON, D.C. - Our local communities know how much we love our Great Lakes. It’s not only a great spot for recreation but it helps bring in tourism and a vibrant ecosystem. Our local congressional members are working together on legislation that continues a critical program that helps protect our Great Lakes. 

“I've lived in Michigan my whole life and the great lakes are part of who we are,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D- MI). She can’t praise our Great Lakes enough.  

“It’s tourism, it’s agriculture, it’s fishing, it’s hunting in the UP it’s part of our way of life and the beauty of Michigan,” added Stabenow.  

They’re a gem to our communities and a priority for many of our local congressional members. To keep our Great Lakes great, congressional members are pushing to extend the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It’s a fund that helps projects target the biggest threats to our Great Lakes, like invasive species, contamination and protecting native habitats.  

“We’ve had over 30 projects in Marquette County alone,” said Stabenow. “When you look at Deer Lake and the mercury contamination that’s been cleared up. Other lakes that have been taken off that have been taken off the designation of area of concern. Now you can swim and now you can fish and so on. You look at algae blooms that are lessening because we are not seeing the same run off we have seen before.” 

Members said the GLRI has done wonders for our Great Lakes, like habitat restoration for bird conservation along Lake Erie and new projects like addressing polluted stormwater runoff from Hyde Creek in New York, just to name a few. They’re sponsoring legislation to extend the GLRI through 2031 and increase the funding for the program in hopes it will continue boosting local tourism and of course, the environment.   

“So this is a huge part of our economy and most importantly its part of who we are,” said Stabenow. The legislation to extend the GLRI is also supported by Pennsylvania Senators John Fetterman (D- PA) and Bob Casey (D- PA).