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Bipartisan Effort Aims To Increase Great Lakes Restoration Funding

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Office of Senator Tammy Baldwin
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Senator Tammy Baldwin tours GLRI restoration project on CAT Island Green Bay officials recently to discuss algal blooms that plague the bay.

The five Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario — contain more than 20% of the world's surface freshwater. But the basin is also plagued with challenges, from algal bloom to invasive species.  

The Great Lakes Restoration Fund (GLRI) has been pumping federal dollars into projects throughout the basin since 2010. So far, more than $2.5 billion has been spent to help restore habitat and fight off invasive species through 4,706 projects throughout the region.

READ:  Great Lakes Restoration Funding Program Approaches Next Phase

Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin thinks GLRI not only should continue, but says its budget should increase.

"When you think about the Great Lakes as being the world's largest body of freshwater, we need to protect them and I see them being challenged more than they've ever been challenged before," Baldwin says.

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Credit Office of Senator Tammy Baldwin
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Baldwin toured the state last summer not just to enjoy its waters, she says, but to learn more about problems facing them.

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin talks with WUWM’s Susan Bence about other water issues in Wisconsin.

Last week an amendment was introduced that would increase 2020 GLRI funding by $9 million.

Baldwin, who is a member of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force, is among the legislators who votes yes to the increase. She says there's momentum to steadily increase GLRI funding that she considers imperative as climate change adds another layer of uncertainty to the basin's future health.

Have an environmental question you'd like WUWM's Susan Bence to investigate? Submit below.

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Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.