With the fate of federal Great Lakes restoration programs uncertain and the Asian carp crisis escalating, Freshwater Future staff joined other Great Lakes advocates in Cleveland in September for the 8th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference. It attracted more than 400 people from the states of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania and the province of Ontario.
Attendees asked both presidential candidates to maintain Great Lakes restoration funding and to commit to building a physical barrier to stop Asian carp from invading the Lakes. The actions are part of the Healing Our Waters–Great Lakes coalition’s “Great Lakes Protection and Restoration Candidate Pledge.” Read the full pledge at: http://bit.ly/2012GLpledge
The next president and U.S. Congress face tough budget choices—expiring tax cuts, looming sequestration and ongoing negotiations—that could affect critical restoration efforts. The opening remarks noted that this is challenging for federal Great Lakes restoration investment, which has eclipsed more than $1 billion over the last three years.
Freshwater Future staff presented in two different sessions during the conference. Jill Ryan spoke in the “Climate-smart Restoration Success: Local and Landscape Scale Examples and Tools” session and Melanie Welch spoke in the “Engaging Great Lakes Citizens to Stop the Asian Carp” session. Many sessions were recorded and can be viewed at www.greatlakesnow.org
Jill Ryan also finished her term as co-chair of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition at the conference. In her plenary remarks she thanked everyone for their hard work in making the goals of the coalition a reality, “each person plays an important and unique role in making our collective work come to life in on-the-ground projects that are truly improving the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem, thank you all for what you do.”