The Great Lakes make Michigan special and are home to thousands of species of plant and wildlife. Together, our lakes support an annual $7+ billion fishing industry, as well as hunting, hiking, camping and tourism across the state. Invasive species such as sea lamprey, zebra mussels and Asian carp, however, pose a grave threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem. As residents of Michigan, we must do our part to preserve the natural environment.
I am proud to be an original cosponsor of H.R. 1135, the Defending Our Great Lakes Act of 2015, which directs the Army Corps of Engineers to execute a short-term prevention strategy while developing and implementing a long-term plan to keep Asian carp out of our lakes. It also instructs the Corps to work with a variety of local, state and federal governments to carry out both the short and long term solutions.
I have also cosponsored H.R. 223, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GRLI) Act of 2015, which will fund the GRLI through 2020. This initiative focuses on cleaning our water - not just in the lakes, but in the rivers and tributaries, as well. It especially helps in the fight against invasive species, the protection of our shoreline and the removal toxic and harmful debris.
Finally, the Great Lakes are a critical mode of transportation - for recreation, but also trade and shipping. It is imperative that we make sure we can keep the shipping lanes open. This means maintaining infrastructure at choke points and harbors, as well as dredging to Congressionally-approved levels in shallow passes to ensure ships can maximize the loads they carry each trip. Securing this mode of interstate transportation is good for Michigan’s economy, both along the shores and inland.
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