New Law Would Extend Critical Federal Investment in the Great Lakes

Attributable to Senior Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes, Marnie Urso

“When the Great Lakes are healthy, so too are our wildlife and communities.  

Since 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has invested $3.8 billion to clean up toxic pollution, reduce runoff pollution, and restore the habitat that birds and other wildlife need across the Great Lakes region. This week, leaders in Congress introduced the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2024. The bill would extend the vital restoration program for five years, funding the program at $500 million annually.  

Together, the Great Lakes form the largest fresh surface water system on our planet, providing clean drinking water for 40 million people and habitat for millions of birds. Protecting this invaluable resource is a massive undertaking, but one that is vital for our region’s wildlife, local communities, and economies.  

Since it launched, the GLRI has funded more than 7,000 projects to revitalize our region – including Audubon Great Lakes’ and partners’ work to protect vulnerable shorebirds like Great Lakes Piping Plovers and threatened and endangered marsh birds like the Black Tern. A reauthorization of this critical program will fund essential projects that will make our region more resilient in the face of climate change and will accelerate the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem for years to come. 

We thank Senate cosponsors Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Fetterman (D-Penn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.), and House cosponsors Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), John James (R-Mich.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), Max Miller (R-Ohio), John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Brian Steil (R-Wis.), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), and Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) for introducing this critical legislation." 


About Audubon Great Lakes 

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon Great Lakes is a regional office of Audubon, learn more at  

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