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.
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.
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.
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