Audubon Urges Support for Bill to Restore Great Lakes

The bipartisan legislation would help improve water quality and bird habitat.

Washington, DC (July 26, 2019) – “The Great Lakes are home to 30 million people and 350 species of birds— restoration efforts are one of Audubon’s top priorities,” said Julie Hill-Gabriel, National Audubon’s Vice President for Water Conservation. “With increasing challenges on the horizon for the world’s largest body of freshwater, a greater investment in GLRI will help clean up toxic pollutants, protect wildlife by restoring critical habitat, and help combat devastating invasive species.”

Today leaders in Congress introduced the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 (GLRI). The bill increases funding for conservation projects to $475 million over five years.

“Audubon has been monitoring Great Lakes marsh birds such as Black Tern, Common Gallinule, King Rail, Least Bittern, and Pied-billed Grebe and we know that regional populations of some of these species have decreased by as much as 80% in just a few short decades,” said Nat Miller interim Executive Director of Audubon Great Lakes. “Birds are indicators of the health of any given ecosystem—and birds are telling us we need to pay attention to marshlands in the Great Lakes. Healthy marshlands help filter water and absorb flood waters and are important breeding grounds for marsh birds. This GLRI bill is a win-win for people and birds.”

Led by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), the bipartisan, bicameral bill would increase the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative’s authorization incrementally from $300 million per year to $475 million per year over five years.

Thanks to the Members of Congress across the Great Lakes region that have cosponsored the legislation for Senate Bill 2295, which include Sens.: Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.). Cosponsors for House Bill 4031 include Reps.: Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Sean Casten (D-Ill.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Anthony Gonzalez (D-Ohio), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Mike Turner (R-Ohio), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Joseph Morelle (D-N.Y.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).


Read about Audubon’s ongoing work in the Great Lakes:

Marnie Urso, Policy Director, 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 and follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

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