Portman, Klobuchar, Stabenow, Young Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Fish and Wildlife Restoration in the Great Lakes

November 4, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced a bipartisan bill to support fish and wildlife in the Great Lakes. As leaders of the Senate’s Great Lakes Task Force, the senators introduced the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act to provide critical resources to conserve and restore fish and wildlife populations in the Great Lakes. The bill would authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 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. 

“The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act helps protect Lake Erie, Ohio’s top tourist destination, by delivering resources to Ohio and the Great Lakes region to address the greatest threats to our fish and wildlife — threats like invasive species and habitat degradation,” Portman said. “By reauthorizing this program through FY 2027, we are providing the Fish and Wildlife Service with the resources it needs to protect our Lakes and preserve our environment for generations to come.”

“The Great Lakes are a major part of Minnesotans’ way of life, providing clean drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, and opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Klobuchar said. “We must do everything we can to protect our Great Lakes for generations to come, and this bipartisan bill will help provide critical resources to conserve and restore the fish and wildlife that call the Great Lakes home.”

“Our Great Lakes fisheries and diverse wildlife attract millions of visitors each year and are vital to our state’s economy and job creation,” Stabenow said. “This legislation will help restore wildlife habitats while combating the serious threat of invasive species.”

“The Great Lakes play a crucial role in Indiana’s ecosystem,” Young said. “I’m proud to introduce the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act to help restore wetlands, watersheds, and grasslands that add to the diversity of Hoosier wildlife.”

“The reauthorization of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act would be a strong step towards conserving one of the country’s most vital recreational fisheries. Since 1998, this program has supported anglers across the Great Lakes through projects like wetland restoration and the detection of lake trout spawning in the wild. On behalf of the sportfishing industry, we are grateful to Senators Klobuchar and Portman for leading this important effort,” said Connor Bevan, Inland Fisheries Policy Manager at the American Sportfishing Association.

“For more than twenty years, The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act has catalyzed over $40 million to protect Great Lakes fish, wildlife and the habitats they depend. GLFWRA funds help us manage invasive species, restore wetlands, maintain healthy fisheries and safeguard our communities. We’re grateful that Senators Portman and Klobuchar have come together around the idea that a healthy Great Lakes is critical for a healthy economy,” said Raj Shukla, Director of Freshwater Policy at The Nature Conservancy.

This legislation would provide assistance to Great Lakes fish and wildlife agencies to encourage cooperative conservation, restoration, and management of the fish and wildlife resources and their habitats by reauthorizing $6 million annually through FY 2027 to implement restoration projects and USFWS activities of regional importance to the Great Lakes. It would serve an important role in implementing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and renew continued cooperative efforts to address impacts associated with invasive species throughout the Great Lakes Basin.

The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act has been endorsed by Alliance for the Great Lakes, Ducks Unlimited (DU), Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Great Lakes Commission, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, The Nature Conservancy, and The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

NOTE: Senator Portman, who serves as co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, has a lengthy record of accomplishments in protecting Lake Erie. Earlier this year Portman’s bipartisan bill, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act, was signed into law. The legislation reauthorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for another five years. It also increases the current authorization by $25 million annually until it reaches $475 million in FY 2026. Additionally, Portman announced that the GLRI is set to receive $1 billion in new funding as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed the Senate in August.

###