Keeping Our Great Lakes Great
Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the nation, with our lakes, rivers and tributaries home to 84 percent of North America’s freshwater supply.
The Great Lakes are our livelihood and way of life as Michiganders, but they are in peril.
The Great Lakes have been under attack by policies and inaction from Republicans over the past seven years. Here are just some of the threats to our waters and coastlines that have emerged under their watch:
Species such as Asian Carp endanger existing native species, damage infrastructure, and hit commercial and recreational fishing industries hard. The cost of invasive species to businesses reaches well into the millions.
Microplastics are small plastic particles that come from the products we use daily, such as synthetic clothes, bottles and cosmetics. These particles, which don’t dissolve, travel down our drains, along rivers and, eventually, into lakes. They are eaten by fish and end up back in our bodies.
Algae blooms contaminate our drinking water with toxins that are serious to our health — and the blooms are getting worse and worse each year. Not nearly enough has been done to protect our Great Lakes and our health.
Strengthen standards to limit invasive species
Asian carp, one of the species threatening our $7 billion a year fishing industry, is swimming ever closer to our lakes at an alarming rate. Electric barriers help keep the carp from reaching Lake Michigan, but they are outdated and not 100 percent effective. We need to implement more effective measures to keep invasive species out of our lakes.
Continued funding for Great Lakes cleanup
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) targets the biggest threats to our Great Lakes: cleaning up areas of concern, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing harmful algal blooms and restoring habitat to protect our native species. This program must remain funded.
We need to ensure that we have the proper protections to maintain these iconic bodies of water that our livelihood and source of recreation depend upon.
Rather than taking a stand against invasive species and pollution, Michigan Senate Republicans have slashed standards and put our Great Lakes’ fate in the hands of the federal government — a government led by President Trump, who wants to cut funding to them by 90 percent.
The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the Earth’s surface fresh water — and, as Michiganders, it’s our job to protect them.
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