Yesterday, President Trump released his proposed budget cuts for fiscal year 2020, which slashes the budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) by 90 percent. The GLRI was developed to address the biggest threats to the Great Lakes—the world’s largest freshwater system. Since its creation, the GLRI has funded nearly 5,000 projects that have improved water quality by cleaning up toxic pollutants, protected wildlife by restoring critical habitat, and helped combat devastating invasive species. The program has helped restore habitat for shorebirds, including the endangered Piping Plover, and has overwhelming bipartisan support.
Audubon’s Vice President for the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi Flyway, Rebeccah Sanders issued the following statement:
“Our Great Lakes face very serious challenges like toxic algae blooms, invasive species run amok, rapidly fluctuating water levels, and the loss of critical habitat for birds and other wildlife. The GLRI has been successful in turning around many of the most degraded natural areas in our region and driving real impacts for our region’s water, wildlife, and economy. A 90 percent cut to this program would be devastating for the 30 million people and the more than 350 species of birds the region. I, along with the more than 300,000 Audubon members and 80 chapters in the Great Lakes states, look forward to working with Members of Congress to pass a budget that includes the full $300 million for the GLRI. Anything less would be unacceptable.”