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Great Lakes fish and wildlife bill introduced in Senate

The bill would aim money to help restore fish, wildlife populations and habitat.

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A salmon is netted on Lake Superior during a fishing excursion in June. A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to bolster funding for Great Lakes fish and wildlife projects. John Myers / 2021 file / Duluth News Tribune
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Great Lakes fish and wildlife populations would get a boost under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Supporters say the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act will provide critical resources to conserve and restore fish and wildlife populations across the region.

This legislation would provide assistance to Great Lakes fish and wildlife agencies to encourage cooperative conservation, restoration and management — including invasive-species efforts — by reauthorizing $6 million annually through 2027. The program offers grants through the federal agency focusing on research, restoration and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the Great Lakes basin.

The bill also authorizes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to partner with other federal agencies, states and tribes to develop and execute proposals for the restoration of fish and wildlife resources in the Great Lakes Basin.

The bill was co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; and Todd Young, R-Ind.

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“The Great Lakes are a major part of Minnesotans’ way of life, providing clean drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, and opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “We must do everything we can to protect our Great Lakes for generations to come, and this bipartisan bill will help provide critical resources to conserve and restore the fish and wildlife that call the Great Lakes home.”

The bill has support from several conservation groups, including the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Ducks Unlimited, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Great Lakes Commission, Pheasants Forever and The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

Reauthorizing the act will “be a strong step towards conserving one of the country’s most vital recreational fisheries. Since 1998, this program has supported anglers across the Great Lakes through projects like wetland restoration and the detection of lake trout spawning in the wild. On behalf of the sportfishing industry, we are grateful to Senators Klobuchar and Portman for leading this important effort,” said Connor Bevan of the American Sportfishing Association.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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