WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) announced that he has introduced two pieces of legislation to address shoreline erosion in Northeast Ohio: the Creating Opportunities to Advance Shoreline Treatments (COAST) Act and the Detrimental Erosion Forcing Enhanced Needs to Defend (DEFEND) the Great Lakes Act.
“Water levels in the Great Lakes have reached historic highs over the past several years, damaging the environmental and economic health of countless communities” said Joyce. “As someone who grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, I’ve seen the devastating effects of shoreline erosion: property is lost, structures are destroyed, and ecosystems are damaged. Unfortunately, most federal programs aimed at mitigating these impacts are not well targeted to shoreline erosion caused by high lake levels. That’s why I introduced the COAST Act and the DEFEND the Great Lakes Act. My bills will adjust U.S. Army Corps of Engineers programs to ensure targeted federal funding can be directed to resilience projects in our most vulnerable shoreline areas. These bills are a much-needed answer to the calls local leaders have made for greater support for shoreline protection efforts.”
Specifically, the COAST Act would increase the authorized funding amount for the Emergency Stream Bank and Shoreline Protection Continuing Authority by $25,500,000 and expand the list of authorized uses of funds to include the construction, repair, restoration, and modification of emergency streambank and shoreline protection works to prevent damage to highways and other roadways, bridge approaches, public works, public recreational assets, public lands, and parks, churches, hospitals, schools, and other nonprofit public services.
The DEFEND the Great Lakes Act would amend the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Continuing Authority Program to require the Secretary of the Army to initiate not less than 5 projects to reduce the risk of loss and degradation of coastal wetlands along the shorelines of the Great Lakes due to shoreline erosion caused by high velocity waves and high-water events within two years of enactment.
As Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force and the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, Joyce has long been a fierce advocate for programs that help local communities combat threats to both the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes region, like shoreline erosion. In June, Joyce sent a letter to House leadership, urging them to allocate funding in the bipartisan infrastructure package to address shoreline erosion, flooding and related impacts in the Great Lakes region. Earlier this year, Joyce’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2020 was signed into law. You can learn more about that legislation here.