Policy Pulse: House Advances Protections for Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay

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Lake covered in algae

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure voted in September to advance two bills reauthorizing important regional environmental initiatives: the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP). In addition to renewing these vital programs, the legislation would gradually increase the annual funding available for the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay programs to $475 million and $92 million, respectively.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a driver for restoring the natural resources vital to the Great Lakes region and the nation. It represents a collaborative effort on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, 15 other federal agencies, state governments, and conservation groups like the League.

Over the past decade, more than 3,000 GLRI-funded projects have focused on the most significant environmental problems in the Great Lakes by:

  • Cleaning up “Areas of Concern” – heavily polluted areas of land and water
  • Preventing and controlling invasive species
  • Reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful algal blooms
  • Restoring habitat to protect native species of fish and wildlife

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 18 million people who depend on clean water for drinking, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat. The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership that brings together federal, state, and local watershed organizations and academics to develop and adopt policies that improve monitoring techniques, reduce polluted runoff, and restore habitat for fish and wildlife.

The Chesapeake Bay Program is widely recognized for:

  • A partnership model emulated worldwide that demonstrates that a cooperative approach is an effective way to achieve conservation goals
  • Environmental results, including improved water quality and increases in submerged aquatic grasses, that are turning back the degradation that has come from centuries of exploitation and pollution
  • State-of-the-art scientific research that has advanced restoration in the Bay region and throughout the world

The next step for both bills is a move to the House floor to be considered by the full House of Representatives. Companion bills have also been introduced in the Senate.

Speak up for conservation in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay by urging your members of Congress to support these bills.

Take action now