Congress Approves Great Lakes Spending Bill

The GLRI funds habitat restoration like this cattail remediation project in Braddock Bay, New York (photo: Veronica Volk)
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By Veronica Volk

Congress has approved a bill that will renew funding to a federal program created to improve Great Lakes waters and surrounding lands.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has funded everything from water treatment upgrades to fish spawning habitats to toxic cleanups. Since its implementation in 2010 money from the initiative has gone toward over 3000 projects across the region.

Under new water spending legislation, the initiative will continue to be funded at $300 million a year over the next five years. People who work on environmental projects say this renewal is important for the long-term health of the lakes.

"All of these projects are long term," says Jill Jedlicka, executive director of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. "When you deal with River restoration or habitat restoration, it's not just done in a nice neat 2-year time frame."

The bill also allocates funds to projects addressing lead in Flint, Michigan's water. 

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