Toledo, OH – Lucas County Commissioner Carol Contrada will attend the annual Great Lakes Days 2016 in Washington, D.C. this week to advocate for funding for the Western Lake Erie Basin and to promote implementation of projects designed to protect and restore Lake Erie. Commissioner Contrada will join members of Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, the Great Lakes Commission, the National Wildlife Federation, and other organizations from across the watershed to educate members of Congress, the US EPA and the Obama Administration about the challenges facing Lake Erie and the vital need for continued support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Each year key public officials and non-governmental environmental organizations representing the Great Lakes region travel to Washington D.C. to appeal to members of Congress to make the health of the Great Lakes a national priority that is reflected in the federal budget.
“I am honored to represent Lucas County during Great Lakes Days 2016 and will emphasize why it is imperative that Congress fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” stated Commissioner Contrada. “All members of the Northwest Ohio coalition are committed to advocating for ongoing, proactive measures in our region that will restore and protect the health of Lake Erie. We will present to Congress and members of the Obama Administration meaningful, effective measures to achieve a 40% phosphorous reduction in the Western Lake Erie Basin and Lake Erie.”
With a coalition of partners from Northwest Ohio, Commissioner Contrada seeks to protect federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which was recently proposed to be cut by $50 million. The Northwest Ohio delegation will promote additional federal support of significant projects in the Western Lake Erie Basin and strongly advocate for increased support for additional innovative projects to come, including reconstructed wetlands in the Swan Creek watershed. In addition, Commissioner Contrada will promote the use of technology in water quality improvement efforts such as sand filters, vernal ponds, and porous pavement, as well as introduce the Lucas County Sources and Amounts Assessment, a comprehensive watershed initiative that will establish sources of phosphorus, establish a baseline, and help measure effectiveness of programs.
“Restoration and expansion of the GLRI is imperative because it is through GLRI that we directly implement the changes and improvements necessary to heal our waters,” added Commissioner Contrada.
There are many projects in Northwest Ohio that have been made possible because of GLRI funding such as enhanced wetland acreage; restoration of stream habitats in the Upper Ottawa River; removal of contaminated sediments in the Ottawa River; the Maumee Corps’ project restoration of 878 acres in the Maumee River’s area of concern; the Silver Creek watershed project retrofitting Cullen Park with bioswales and rain gardens; and the Lucas County Engineer’s rain garden and permeable pavement projects. These projects contribute to healthier waterways and the restoration of Lake Erie.
Great Lakes Days 2016 will be held February 24-25, 2016 in Washington, D.C.