Today, Rep. Jack Bergman shared news of key steps taken to further ensure the health, beauty, and prosperity of our Great Lakes. Michigan’s First District features the most coastline of any Congressional District in the contiguous United States, and Rep. Bergman has made conservation a top priority on behalf of all who live, work, and play on our Great Lakes.
Bergman noted, “The past few months have yielded some major accomplishments for protecting our Great Lakes, such as in the fight against invasive species - particularly Asian Carp. Following bipartisan work between myself and other stakeholders in Congress, we’re making real progress with results-driven programs and projects that will safeguard the future of our natural resources for many generations."
Below are recent Great Lakes developments, which Rep. Bergman helped lead from the federal level:
Bipartisan Letter Urging Army Corps to Prioritize Great Lakes Projects in 2021
As a member of the House Great Lakes Task Force, Rep. Bergman and his colleagues called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take up important initiatives outlined by the Task Force as the Corps develops its fiscal year (FY) 2021 work plan. With the enactment of key authorizations and funding provided by Congress at the end of 2020, the bipartisan group identified continued Soo Locks improvements, Asian Carp prevention, and implementation of both the Great Lakes Resiliency Study and the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration program as top priorities.
You can read the full letter here, which the Task Force sent on January 8th.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Reauthorization and Advancements
On January 5th, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 was signed into law. The reauthorization will positively impact efforts to combat pollution and toxic contamination, crack down on the advance of invasive species, and preserve the Great Lakes as an oasis for wildlife and economic opportunity. Rep. Bergman proudly helped introduce and advance this legislation, which will extend the Initiative through 2026.
The authorized funding level for the GLRI will be boosted to $375 million in Fiscal Year 2022, and will see incremental increases of $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million in FY 2026. The recent FY21 government appropriations bill funded the GLRI at $330 million.
Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on January 14th announced the milestone of restoring 100 beneficial uses at various Great Lakes Areas of Concern, which is a critical measurement of success for the public-private partnerships utilized by the GLRI to grow economic opportunity in nearby communities.
For more information on the GLRI, visit: https://www.glri.us/
Interstate Agreement Reached to Block Asian Carp
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on January 6th announced an agreement between Michigan and Illinois to commit resources and share responsibilities on the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study – Brandon Road Project. Following Rep. Bergman’s successful advocacy to authorize the Project and increase the federal cost share from 65 to 80 percent in the newly enacted 2020 Water Resources Development Act, these promising next steps will bring us closer to constructing mechanisms at Brandon Road to stop the advance of Asian Carp into Lake Michigan.