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The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on the Earth's surface, home to a fragile fishery, and delicate shoreline beaches and dunes. They are also central to northern Michigan tourism, economies and our way of life.

Sen. Stabenow says Great Lakes ecosystem needs help

Taylor Wizner
Interlochen Public Radio

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow visited Traverse City on Thursday to tout her plan to extend funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The initiative has funded almost 900 projects in the northwest lower Michigan region, she says.

Earlier this month, Stabenow, D-Mich., introduced bipartisan-supported legislation that would renew funding for the initiative that expires next year. Her proposal would also increase the current budget by about 60 percent over the next seven years.

“It’s a critical natural resource, economic resource, quality of life resource, not only for us but for our country,” Stabenow says. “But we’ve got to keep telling that story so we need help from everyone to support this effort.”

The plan has helped stop the spread of invasive species and restored environmentally-damaged areas. Stabenow says without the continued support of the initiative, the Great Lakes’ ecosystem would be jeopardized. 

The Trump administration has threatened to defund the initiative several times but still pays for the project.