(Toledo, OH, June 13, 2018)—This evening, representatives from Audubon and other local community leaders, attended the first meeting hosted by the US EPA to discuss the development of the forthcoming Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Action Plan III. Audubon was present to make sure that clean water, birds, and the habitat they need, will be a priority in the crafting of the next plan.
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is crucial for the work that we and others are doing to protect the 350 species of birds that depend on the Great Lakes, so it was imperative that we be here today,” said Marnie Urso, Director of Great Lakes Policy for the National Audubon Society. “Issues like invasive species, water quality—specifically mitigating conditions that lead to algal blooms in Lake Erie, addressing the effects of climate change and habitat restoration must be priorities in the next plan. Audubon is going to push for the strongest Action Plan 3 we can get.”
The U.S. EPA is in the process of developing a plan for how it will prioritize federal Great Lakes restoration and protection investments. Over the last nine years, Congress has invested more than $2.9 billion in more than 4,000 projects as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Restoration projects in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York are helping to restore fish and wildlife habitat, clean up toxic pollution, reduce polluted runoff from cities and farms, and fight invasive species. In Ohio, GLRI has supported projects that restore fish habitat along the Ashtabula and Cuyahoga river urban waterfronts, helped protect public health by improving the tracking and reporting of beach health in urban areas, and reduced the impacts of urban storm water on local rivers and streams and near‐shore areas of Lake Erie.
Tonight’s meeting was the first of a series of events scheduled throughout the Great Lakes states. The EPA will be taking public input on how to shape the next plan, known as Great Lakes Action Plan 3, which will guide restoration efforts from 2020-2024. The EPA has signaled its intent to release a draft plan in mid-October or November.
Additional meetings are planned for Rochester, NY, Duluth, MN; Milwaukee, WI; Saginaw, MI; and Chicago, IL.
Sign-up to be a voice for conservation in the Great Lakes: http://act.audubon.org/onlineactions/B8wdBSdNnk6VBDsZZVbZjQ2