In Toledo, Portman Sees GLRI Success Story Firsthand

April 19, 2017 | Press Releases

Yesterday, Senator Portman saw up close a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) success story in a visit to the restored wetland at Maumee Bay State Park and later at the University of Toledo Lake Erie Center. Portman toured the wetland to see how it, with the help of GLRI funding, is helping to keep phosphorous from entering the lake, which is designed to help prevent large-scale algal bloom outbreaks like the one that cased Toledo’s water crisis in 2014. He also saw how it helps stop harmful bacteria from reaching the beaches at the state park. Portman has led efforts to fully fund the GLRI and helped restore funding to its authorized level of $300 million in FY 2016 when the Obama administration attempted to cut funding for the initiative by $50 million. 

Portman’s visit, which follows a recent trip to Cleveland where he joined Port of Cleveland leadership to host a roundtable discussion on the importance of the GLRI to Lake Erie and the surrounding communities, comes after the new administration’s request to eliminate funding for the program. Portman strongly opposes this cut because GLRI has brought more than $164 million in funding to Ohio cities like Toledo to help clean up pollution in the Lake, stop invasive species like Asian carp, and reduce the likelihood of harmful algal blooms.

Portman spoke about his visit in a video posted to Facebook. Excerpts of, and links to, stories highlighting Portman’s visit yesterday can be found below:

Toledo Blade

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) pledged his continued support Tuesday for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s $300 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as well as the agency in general and other agencies vital to Lake Erie programs and monitoring its algal blooms.

Mr. Portman began his visit to the area with a stop at the man-made wetland developed by the University of Toledo and others west of Maumee Bay State Park’s entrance.

“These projects are working,” Mr. Portman said of environmental programs in general, but especially the GLRI. “They are a cost-effective way of keeping the water clean.”

Mr. Portman, who co-chairs the Senate Great Lakes Task Force with U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), said there is bipartisan support for Great Lakes programs among the Great Lakes delegation in both chambers of Congress…

Toledo WTOL

Anchor: “Portman toured the Toledo area today, learning about the impact of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Blair Caldwell has details of his visit.”

Blair Caldwell: “Senator Portman got a chance to see firsthand how federal funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are making a difference here locally. First he visited a restored wetland at Maumee Bay State Park where he learned how they are working to stop phosphorus from reaching Lake Erie and preventing harmful bacteria from closing the public beaches. Senator Portman also visited the Lake Erie Center where they showed him how they are working to keep Lake Erie healthy and away from invasive carp. Senator Portman said he worked hard to keep the funding and sees now how fruitful it has been.”

Senator Portman: “These projects are working. It’s actually a cost effective way to keep the lake clean. One of the things that I focus on in Washington is the fact that it’s about tourism, it's about ensuring that we keep this national treasure that’s behind me here in good shape."

Caldwell: “He says with all this effective work being done he will continue to fight for funding of the GLRI.”

Toledo WNWO

Anchor: “Water restoration and sex trafficking, those are the topics Senator Rob Portman discussed today during his time in Toledo. The Republican state leader visited the restored wetland at Maumee Bay State Park. He also spent time at the University of Toledo Lake Erie Center to discuss the importance of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

Senator Portman: “This is about the fishing industry, it’s about tourism, it's about ensuring that we keep this national treasure that’s behind me here in good shape but it’s also people's drinking water which was of course a big crisis here in Toledo just a few years ago.”