Battling Green Slime And Aquatic Vampires Gets A Boost From Congress

Lampreys on display at the Cleveland Aquarium (pic: Brian Bull)
Lampreys on display at the Cleveland Aquarium (pic: Brian Bull)
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The House of Representatives has just approved extending the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The legislation would continue the program for five more years, with an annual budget of $300 million.

Ohio Democrat Marcy Kaptur is among the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers backing the bill. She says it helps combat runoff that causes toxic algae blooms…like the ones that hit Toledo earlier this year.

“I’ll tell you, to live in a region where over a half million people and businesses had the water shut off for three days, almost seemed like a surreal experience, but it happened," says Kaptur. "And we have to pay attention.”

Roughly $1.6 billion has already been spent on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative since 2010. Among those cheering for its extension is Marc Gaden, with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. He says past money has helped the Army Corps of Engineers control lamprey….hose-like creatures that suck the blood of other fish in the Great Lakes.

“They latch onto fish with a suction cup mouth, razor sharp teeth," begins Gaden. "They drill a hole through the scales and skin and feed on the fish’s blood. They’re vampires, and have caused indescribable destruction on the Great Lakes fisheries since they came in.”

The bill now goes to the Senate.

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