Final FY 2021 Bipartisan Funding Measure Includes Key Portman Priorities to Protect Great Lakes, National Parks

December 21, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that the final FY 2021 bipartisan funding bill includes several of his key priorities including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial ChallengeMigratory Birds of the America’s Act, the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, and the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA). Notably, the bill includes $330 million in funding for GLRI for FY 2021, the largest investment in the health, ecosystem, and water quality in the Great Lakes. Portman issued the following statement:

“I’m pleased this final FY 2021 bipartisan funding measure will benefit Ohio’s national parks and Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie. The bill increases funding for the GLRI, a successful public-private partnership to protect the water quality and ecosystem of our Great Lakes, and also provides funding to combat harmful algal blooms and to protect our fish and wildlife populations and their habitats in the Great Lakes basin. It also includes funding for my bipartisan NPS Centennial Challenge program to ensure our national parks receive the resources they need in order to preserve our nation’s treasures for generations to come.”

NOTE: Here’s how the final bipartisan FY 2021 funding bill benefits the Great Lakes:

  • $330 Million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:  Portman has led efforts to ensure the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a results-driven program, has the resources it needs to address the most serious issues that threaten the ecological and economic wellbeing of the Great Lakes basin, including invasive species, pollution, and toxic contamination.  The FY 2021 spending bill includes $330 million for GLRI, which is $10 million above the FY 2020 spending level of $320 million. Yesterday, Portman praised passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2020, which will authorize increased funding of $375 million in FY 2022 and then increase the authorization by $25 million per year until it hits $475 million in FY 2026.
  • Funding for the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA): Portman worked to successfully reauthorize the HABHRCA program through FY2023, which has served as the federal government’s research and response toolkit for harmful algal blooms. Senator Portman previously worked to include freshwater bodies, such as Lake Erie, as part of the program. The final FY 2021 spending bill includes funding for HABHRCA through programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • $20 Million for the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Act: Portman, a lifelong outdoorsman and a frequent visitor to Ohio’s national parks, has long been a leader in the U.S. Senate in efforts to protect our national parks. He is the author of the National Park Service Centennial Act, legislation signed into law in 2016 that authorizes the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund and the Second Century Endowment Fund, two public-private partnerships that are providing additional funding to help preserve our national parks for generations to come.
  • $4.9 Million for Migratory Birds: Portman’s Migratory Birds of the Americas Act provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) the resources it needs to protect the migratory bird populations that make Lake Erie one of the nation’s premier birdwatching destinations. Birding contributes more than $20 million to Ohio’s tourism industry and attracts visitors from across the world each year.  The bill will help sustain populations of migratory birds that face threats to their health and habitats.
  • $1.89 Million for Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act: Portman’s bipartisan Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act  provides critical resources to conserve and restore fish and wildlife populations in the Great Lakes. The legislation, which was signed into law in 2016 as part of the WIIN Act, reauthorizes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) program to partner with other federal agencies, states, and tribes to develop and execute proposals for the restoration of fish and wildlife resources in the Great Lakes basin.
  • Protecting Lake Erie from Dredged Materials: Portman’s bipartisan language prohibits the Army Corps of Engineers from dumping material dredged from the Cuyahoga River shipping channel into Lake Erie without the approval from the State of Ohio that it is environmentally safe.