WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is announcing several provisions within the federal omnibus appropriations bill that she says would increase the environmental health of the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie. Specifically, the provisions will go toward addressing the threat of Asian carp and increasing the resources for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The federal funding bill addresses the Asian carp threat on two fronts. First by providing $3.5 million to the Department of Interior to prevent the spread of Asian carp, and second by authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to take emergency measures to stop an imminent threat of Asian carp between the Mississippi and the Great Lakes.
Asian Carp are detrimental to the Great Lake ecosystem because they can grow to be as heavy as 100 pounds and as long as four feet. Because of their massive size and equally big appetite, they have the potential to eliminate entire populations of fish within the Great Lakes thereby putting a $7 billion industry at risk.
The bill also allocates up to $300 million to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative program for fiscal year 2014. This is an increase from the sequestered levels in fiscal year 2013 of $284 million.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has leveraged the resources and expertise of 11 agencies across the federal government to collaborate on improving the health of Great Lakes ecosystems by:
- Cleaning up Areas of Concern;
- Reducing nutrients entering the Lakes; and
- Preventing the introduction of new invasive species.