In Curtice, Senator Portman Visits Howard Marsh Metropark GLRI Project, Discusses the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Would Provide $1 Billion Additional Funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)

August 19, 2021 | Press Releases

CURTICE, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the lead Republican negotiator of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that recently passed the U.S. Senate, visited Howard Marsh Metropark to see the Phase 1 GLRI Project and discuss the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act with Metropark leadership. This legislation would add $1 billion to GLRI to fund additional projects like the one at Howard Marsh Metropark.

“I had a great visit today to the Howard Marsh Metropark, where I saw firsthand how more than $4.2 million in GLRI funding has been used for the project. I also enjoyed discussing with Metropark leadership how the $1 billion in additional GLRI funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help fund additional projects like this one. For our communities along Lake Erie, healthy water and ecosystems are the bedrock of a more resilient economy and more durable infrastructure,” said Senator Portman. “As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I will continue to fight preserve this treasure for our future generations.”

“It was a pleasure to show Sen. Portman one of the great success stories of the GLRI,” said Dave Zenk, Executive Director of Metroparks Toledo. “In the three years the park has been open, more than 250,000 people have visited there to hike, kayak and enjoy an amazing array of migratory birds. Most important, the marsh is filtering runoff water, helping to improve the water quality in Lake Erie.”

Howard Marsh Metropark is a 987-acre property that was drained and converted into agricultural land more than 75 years ago. Beginning in 2018, Phase 1 converted 732-acres of the property back into wetland habitat including a hydrological connection from the wetland to Lake Erie that enabled enhanced fish passage. Howard Marsh also filters runoff water before it reaches Lake Erie and provides spawning habitat for fish and stopover habitat for birds. The more than $8 million Phase 1 project was completed in collaboration through a regional partnership with Ducks Unlimited, Metroparks Toledo, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and GLRI from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Phase 2 of restoration will restore and connect the remaining 255 acres of the property and is expected to be completed by spring 2022. Between the two phases, Howard Marsh Metropark has utilized over $4.2 million in GLRI grant funding.

Portman continues to be a leader in protecting the Great Lakes and the environment. In 2019, Portman received the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force’s Great Lakes Legislator of the Year award. As Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Portman continues to lead the efforts to protect Lake Erie from harmful algal blooms, invasive species, contamination, and microbeads. In January of this year, Portman applauded the signing of his bipartisan GLRI Act into law, which reauthorized the GLRI program for five years through FY 2026, and increased the authorization level to $375 million for FY 2022 and by $25 million annually until it reaches $475 million in FY 2026. The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act provides supplemental funding to the GLRI over five years, which is in addition to the funding the program receives through the annual appropriations process. Portman continues to advocate for the full authorized funding level of $375 million for the GLRI in the FY 2022 appropriations process.

Photos from the event are below: