Advocates for the environment came together in Green Bay to raise awareness of the nation’s Great Lakes. Local 5’s Kris Schuller reports the group is concerned federal support going forward may be in jeopardy.
At the mouth of the Fox River, local leaders and conservationists gather to express concern for the future of the Great Lakes and area waterways.
“We have to protect our resources with good common-sense legislation,” said Charlie Frisk of the Baird Creek Preservation Foundation.
What this group of environmentalists are calling for is funding in the federal budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It is a program that has provided $1.7 billion since 2010 for over 3,400 projects to fight invasive species, harmful algae blooms and the loss of fish and wildlife habitat within the Great Lakes system.
“Exotic invasive species have a devastating impact on the ecology of that system and we need to continue to be vigilant,” said Brown County Supervisor Erik Hoyer.
Earlier this year President Trump cut $300 million from the program. The move met stiff opposition from representatives and senators on both sides – like Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. The funding was later reinstated for 2018.
“We are a Great Lakes state – we’ve always been so and to jeopardize one of our best assets would be a great mistake,” said Seth Hoffmeister of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.
“It was surprising to anyone who is in this area,” said Hoyer.
And while funding is back for now this group worries what the future holds for President Trump’s ongoing environmental policies. Now they are urging voters to keep this issue on their radar – if they care about our area waterways.
“This is a new level of vigilance and we just need to continue to watch that and monitor it just like the way we watch and monitor our rivers and streams,” said Hoyer.