The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Win-Win-Win-Win Situation for the Great Lakes

I have blogged about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) several times. This is the largest investment into our Great Lakes in two decades and is a five-year plan to fund programs to improve the health of our lakes. The funding targets five specific areas:

  1. Cleaning up toxics and areas of concern
  2. Combating invasive species
  3. Promoting nearshore health by protecting watersheds from polluted run-off
  4. Restoring wetlands and other habitats
  5. Working with partners on outreach
With the stalled economy, this ambitious program has been scaled back in the budget each of the years it has been included thus far. Still, it is doing a lot of good on many levels in the Great Lakes Region.

On August 23, the EPA announced that the GLRI is setting aside $6 million for federal agencies to sign up unemployed workers to complete projects "in federally-protected areas, on tribal lands and in Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin."

"These projects will help to restore the Great Lakes and put Americans back to work," said EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager and Regional Administrator Susan hedman. "In a sense, we will be using these funds to create a small-scale 21st century Civilian Conservation Corps."

This complex approach to a complex set of problems will benefit the Great Lakes Region on many levels. As I've mentioned before, the Brookings Institution (a nonpartisan group) estimated that for every $1 invested in the GLRI will give back $2 to the region.

This benefit must actually increase if the GLRI is used to employ the unemployed in the region. Those wages will be taxed in the region supporting schools, roads, and other community services. Those wages will be spent in the region supporting local businesses.


Contact your represenatives in support of the GLRI, and learn more about the program and the projects it funds HERE.

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