Jeff Skelding, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes (HOW) Coalition said, "The nation cannot afford to stop protecting the Great Lakes, which are the source of drinking water for more than 30 million people. Restoration projects are producing results, but there's more work to do. If we cut the funding now, it will cost us more later, because restoring the Great Lakes will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait. We urge the Obama Administration and U.S. Congress to maintain funding at $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative."
The gathering of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota citizens comes on the heels of a new report from the Coalition demonstrating how successful restoration projects are yielding positive results for the Great Lakes and communities that rely on these freshwater seas for drinking water, commerce and recreation. The groups indicated that since 2009, Congress and President Obama have invested $1 billion for GLRI, a federal effort to clean up toxic pollution, combat invasive species like the Asian carp, restore habitat and reduce runoff from cities and farms.
So far, restoration efforts have: Restored sturgeon populations in Lake Huron and the Detroit River; Removed tons of toxic sediments from rivers in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin; Bolstered the Atlantic salmon fishery in Lake Ontario; Established the first Native American national park, on the shores of Lake Superior; and, Advanced efforts to control invasive sea lamprey, which feast on native fish species.