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Dingell, LaHood, Tonko, Joyce Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Fish and Wildlife Restoration in the Great Lakes

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI), along with Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and David Joyce (R-OH), 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 and other agencies to develop and execute proposals to conserve, restore and manage fish and wildlife populations and their habitats.

“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.”

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 – from restoring habitat for the Kirtland Warbler, an endangered species, to detecting the successful reproduction of Lake Trout in southern Michigan. Dingell led legislation, which passed into law, in 2016 to reauthorize the bill for the first time since 2006.

“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.”

“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 today 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.”

“The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act is a premier conservation program in the Great Lakes region,” said Robert Lambe, Executive Secretary of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. “The program has a long track record of restoring and sustaining valuable species, protecting critical habitat, and addressing illegal activities that harm our natural resources. The Commission strongly supports the reauthorization of this effective, proven legislation and commends Congresswoman Dingell for her leadership on all things related to the Great Lakes.”

“Ducks Unlimited appreciates Congresswoman Dingell’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.”

To see the full bill text, please click here.
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