On December 16, President Barack Obama signed into law the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The new Act authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) at $1.5 billion over the course of five-years, dedicates funding for maritime priorities including the Great Lakes Navigation System, strengthens protections for fish and wildlife, and authorizes funding for water infrastructure improvements including drinking water systems in the city of Flint.
The GLRI was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes watershed, the largest surface freshwater system in the world. It provides resources to clean up pollution, battle invasive species, reduce nutrient inputs that contribute to nuisance algal blooms, protect sensitive ecological areas like wetlands, and restore habitat to protect native species. More than 3,000 projects in the 8-state Great Lakes Region have been completed with the support of GLRI resources. The GLRI provides funding to state, tribal, interstate, and local governmental agencies; institutions of higher learning; and other nonprofit organizations.
The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes recognizes that these projects have real significance, and works to coordinate planning, expertise, and funding to bring ecological, economic, and cultural vitality to Great Lakes communities through sustainable water resource management.
The authorization of the GLRI cements the Great Lakes as national priority, ensuring stewardship for Michigan's water resources into the future.
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