Last week, Save the Dunes joined the Healing Our Waters Coalition and over 100 Great Lakes advocates in Washington, D.C. to urge members of Congress to support programs that protect and restore the Great Lakes. Priorities included continuing funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Act, stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, funding the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides funding to communities to upgrade aging infrastructure that causes CSOs and threatens water quality, and supporting the Waters of the United States rulemaking, which clarifies the streams and wetlands to be protected under the Clean Water Act. To read more about the Healing Our Waters Coalition’s 2014 priorities, click here.
All of these programs and actions are crucial to the health of the Great Lakes, which support a range of aquatic life, are a source of drinking water for millions, provide countless recreational opportunities, and are a vital asset of our economy. Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline supports a commercial and sport fishery with an annual value of $400 million, waterborne shipping industry of $14 billion, recreational boating opportunities that contribute over $2 billion annually to Indiana’s economy, and tourism dollars from 2 million annual visitors to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and 1.2 million visitors to the Indiana Dunes state park.
Save the Dunes, along with the Blue Green Alliance, Hoosier Environmental Council, League of Women Voters, Cardno JFNew, Save Maumee, and the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association met with Indiana legislators to emphasize the importance of the Great Lakes to Indiana and urged them to help protect this invaluable resource by supporting programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the EPA’s Waters of the United States rulemaking.
Save the Dunes wishes to extend a big thank you to Representative Visclosky, Representative Walorski, Senator Donnelly, staff members of Senator Coats and Representative Stutzman, and remaining Indiana legislators for taking the time to meet with us and learn more about the work being done to protect and restore the Great Lakes.