Two Key Portman Legislative Priorities Included in Senate Public Lands Bill

February 11, 2019 | Portman Difference

This week, the Senate is expected to pass a bipartisan public lands bill that includes more than 100 public lands, natural resources, and water bills – two of them are key legislative priorities authored by Senator Portman. Following is more information about Portman’s two priorities included in this bipartisan legislation: 

  • The measure includes Portman’s legislation, the Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Act (S. 310), which will reauthorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s program to promote the long-term conservation, education, research, monitoring, and habitat protection for more than 380 species of migratory birds. Portman recently introduced the bill with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).  Hundreds of bird species migrate through Ohio each year, making Lake Erie one of the most popular destinations for birdwatching.  Birding contributes more than $20 million to Ohio’s tourism industry and attracts visitors from across the world each year.  Portman’s bill invests $6.5 million annually through 2024 for critical conservation programs that have demonstrated marked successes through public-private partnerships and innovative granting and conservation strategies. 
  • The bill also includes legislation Portman has worked on with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to ensure stable funding for the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area (NHA), which stretches 110 miles from Cleveland to New Philadelphia and is enjoyed by 2.5 million visitors a year.  The measure will help ensure that the site continues to support more than 4,200 local jobs, tourism and economic development in northeast Ohio. Estimates show that the Canalway has generated more than $408 million for the region. In 2015, Congress reauthorized the Canalway through 2021, but the site has reached its funding cap and is at risk of receiving less funding as soon as this year. This measure will increase this cap so the Canalway can continue to receive its federal funding, which helps it raise additional funds from the state of Ohio, private organizations and foundations. 

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 promote conservation and protect our public lands, including our national parks