Great Lakes budget cuts should be opposed to protect critical resource

Posted 27 March 2017 at 3:28 pm


The Great Lakes are a global, national, and local treasure.  These inland seas are an important industrial artery, and they provide drinking water, fishing, boating and tourism opportunities, as well jobs for millions of Americans and Canadians.

Since 2009, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has promoted pollution control, shoreline improvement, fish and wildlife protection, and invasive species monitoring and abatement.

Now, the White House is proposing to slash funding for the GLRI by 97%. Because of this cut, the Army Corps of Engineers announced last month that they would delay a major report concerning ways to prevent Asian Carp invasion of the Great Lakes. In some locations in the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, Asian Carp have consumed so many aquatic resources that they have pushed out 97% of the native fish species. In these areas, boating has become dangerous because the carp jump high into the air, sometimes knocking people overboard. Defunding the GLRI will bring these deadly invaders ever closer to our own waters.

Orleans County’s current and future economic status is closely tied to the health of the Great Lakes and their tributaries. Those of us lucky enough to live here get our drinking water from Lake Ontario, fish and boat in its waters, enjoy its waterfowl, and benefit from tourism dollars must oppose plans to defund the GLRI.

A Facebook group called “All Hands On Deck” has been formed to this end. Please consider joining this group and participating in efforts to preserve the Great Lakes for ourselves and future generations.

Sandy Chenelly