Mr. Smith went to Washington.
Last week, I joined hundreds of anglers, business leaders, hunters, conservationists, and state and federal officials from all across the Great Lakes region to brave the ‘snowquester’ in DC.
Seriously DC? You call that a storm? Wimps.
We met with Congressional leaders urging them to maintain support for federal Great Lakes restoration efforts. Maintaining investments that protect and restore our Great Lakes is a no brainer. Quite simply, restoration projects are producing results.
Restoration dollars have helped maintain and in some cases enhanced the Great Lakes fishery. This is why I always brag about the world class fishing up here in the Great Lakes.
Since 2009, the U.S. Congress and President Obama have invested $1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal effort to clean up toxic pollution, combat invasive species like Asian carp, restore habitat and reduce runoff from cities and farms.
So far, restoration efforts have:
- Bolstered the Atlantic salmon fishery in Lake Ontario;
- Restored sturgeon populations in Lake Huron and the Detroit River;
- Restored vital wetland habitat critical to ducks and buffering run off from farms; and
- Advanced efforts to control invasive sea lamprey, which feast on native fish species;
Also – Great Lakes restoration is key to fueling our economy:
- More than 1.5 million U.S. jobs are directly connected to the Great Lakes, generating $62 billion in wages annually;
- Every $1 invested in Great Lakes restoration generates at least $2 in economic benefit and up to $4 in economic activity through new jobs, development, increased tourism and higher property values; and
- A $10 million restoration project at Muskegon Lake in Michigan produced more than $66 million in economic benefits—a 6-to-1 return on investment—through increased property values, more tourism and higher tax revenues.
As Congress tries to do its work, its clear that cutting restoration funds will not save one penny. We can pay to protect and restore our Great Lakes now—or a lot more later.
You choose which is smarter.