Portman Praises Senate Passage of Funding to Boost Great Lakes Fishery Research, Ready to be Signed into Law

Senators Previously Introduced Legislation to Provide Legislative Authority to the Great Lakes Science Center to Conduct Fishery Research Efforts to Support Effective Fishery Management Decisions

December 19, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) applauded the Senate for passing the final FY 2020 funding bill, which includes bipartisan legislation he introduced with Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to authorize Great Lakes fishery funding and help support effective fishery management decisions. The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization (GLFRA) Act will enable the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to continue to conduct research to help support the over $7 billion Great Lakes sport and commercial fishery industries. It also will authorize the Great Lakes Science Center, which helps sustain Great Lakes fisheries and reduce threats such as invasive species and harmful algal blooms. Despite holding one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water, the Great Lakes science program does not receive the same level of funding authorization as science centers on the country’s saltwater coasts, and this legislation will help decrease the resource gap between the Great Lakes Science Center and other fishery research centers across the nation. The legislation now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“The Great Lakes are an invaluable resource to Ohio, critically important to both our environment and our economy,” said Senator Portman, co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “By authorizing the USGS’s Great Lakes Science Center for the first time, we are prioritizing the research on fish populations and invasive species used by the Great Lakes states as well as Canada to support the health and growth of our $7 billion fishing industry. The inclusion of this bill in the final FY 2020 bipartisan funding agreement ensures we will have the resources to help protect the Great Lakes for generations to come and I urge the president to sign it into law soon.”

The USGS Great Lakes Science Center is currently funded through the USGS’s base appropriation with no sole source of funding of its own. The organization has required authorizing legislation and a dependable funding stream to conduct and modernize fishery research throughout the five Great Lakes to support effective fishery management decisions. This bill authorizes $15 million each year from Fiscal Years 2021-2025.

Located in Ann Arbor, the Great Lakes Science Center maintains staff and field stations in five of the eight Great Lakes States, including Michigan, Ohio, New York, Indiana and Wisconsin. It owns and operates five large fishery research vessels and is the only agency that conducts lake-wide fisheries science assessments on each of the five Great Lakes. Their research has included advancing a suite of projects to support restoration efforts of native prey fish populations throughout the Great Lakes basin; leading world-class research on the most notable invasive species in the history of the Great Lakes, the parasitic sea lamprey; and helping to implement one of the largest freshwater telemetry fish-movement-tracking networks in the world.