WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14), along with Reps. Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Darin LaHood (IL-18), and Paul Tonko (NY-20), introduced bipartisan legislation to support fish and wildlife in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization Act of 2021 would reauthorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to work with states, Tribes, and other interested entities to develop and execute proposals to conserve, restore and manage fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Since 1998, the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act has provided federal funding to 148 research and restoration projects in the Great Lakes Basin. U.S. Senators Rob Portman (OH), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Todd Young (IN) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“As with many families in Northeast Ohio, my parents taught me the importance of protecting the Great Lakes when I was growing up,” said Joyce. “I’ve been proud to do just that here in Congress. The bipartisan legislation we are introducing will make the investments necessary to treat the Great Lakes like the invaluable natural resource and economic powerhouse they are. The memories I have of fishing in Lake Erie as a kid are something I cherish to this day. I remain committed to working across the aisle to protect the fish and wildlife of the Great Lakes so that both current and future generations have the chance make memories of their own.”
“As someone who grew up on the St. Clair River and with many 12th District residents located along the Detroit River, protecting the Great Lakes and its diverse species is personal to me and to so many who call Michigan home,” said Dingell. “The Great Lakes are a way of life – providing fresh water, fish and wildlife habitat, and countless opportunities for recreation, while supporting our state’s economy and hundreds of thousands of jobs. We’ve seen what happens when we all work together to protect our Great Lakes, and I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to conserve fish and wildlife, combat the threat of invasive species, and protect the Great Lakes for generations to come.”
“The Great Lakes are a unique resource for Illinois residents who enjoy the outdoors, providing recreation and fresh water, and supporting our economy,” said LaHood. “As a Dad who regularly enjoys the outdoors with my three sons, I am pleased to join this bipartisan bill to support fish and wildlife restoration in the Great Lakes, expand economic opportunities in Illinois, and improve conservation efforts.”
“The Great Lakes are critical resources to our New York communities and countless others, providing clean drinking water to 35 million Americans, serving as cherished recreational sites and bringing strong economic and environmental benefits to our region. We cannot afford to let these essential resources go unprotected,” said Tonko. “I’m proud to support the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization Act and will continue pushing alongside my colleagues to strengthen our waterways and ensure they can be enjoyed for years to come.”
“We applaud the efforts of Representative Joyce, Dingell, Tonko, and LaHood as they continue to champion the Great Lakes through the introduction of H.R. 5973,” said Steven Berk, Director of Public Policy for the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “We look forward to working with lawmakers in supporting this bill and utilizing the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act to deliver meaningful conservation to the people of Northeast Ohio.”
“Ducks Unlimited appreciates Congressman Joyce’s leadership and support to reauthorize the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act,” said Jason Hill, Director of Conservation Programs for Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Region. “This act will provide critical funding and leverage important partnership-based fish and wildlife habitat restoration efforts for the benefit of all residents and outdoor enthusiasts across the Great Lakes.”
“We are pleased to see the reauthorization of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, and we thank Reps. David Joyce (R-OH), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) for their bipartisan leadership in the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and all who rely on them,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Fish and wildlife are an integral part of living in the Great Lakes region and many of our communities rely on fish and wildlife for both food and the money they bring in through tourism and recreation. Federal restoration investments through this important program continue to produce results in communities throughout the region, and we are excited to see those continue and grow further.”
“For decades, the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act has driven key conservation projects throughout the Great Lakes. The program’s efforts to restore wetlands, remove barriers to fish passage and fund crucial fisheries research have supported recreational fishing across the region,” said Glenn Hughes, the President of the American Sportfishing Association. “The sportfishing industry thanks Representatives Dingell, Joyce, LaHood and Tonko for their efforts to reauthorize this important program, and to continue its impact for generations of anglers to come.”
“More than 350 bird species and countless other wildlife depend on a healthy Great Lakes region to survive,” said Marnie Urso, Senior Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes. “Over the years, the region has lost 90 percent of its wetlands, causing dramatic declines for bird species like the Black Tern. The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act will help protect and restore the habitat that birds need across the Great Lakes region, while helping to ensure that the Great Lakes ecosystem is healthy for the 40 million people that rely on it for clean drinking water, wildlife viewing and recreation.”
To see the full bill text, please click here.