Over the last six years, nearly $2 billion has flowed from Washington, D.C., in support of more than 2,000 Great Lakes-related projects. Much progress has been made under the historic Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
, says Todd Ambs of the Healing Our Waters Coalition, but it’s far from a job done.
“It’s really just a down payment,” Ambs says about federal spending to date. “When you’re talking about what needs to be done to restore the Great Lakes, this initiative needs to go on for years.”
President Obama created the program early in his presidency, building on work that had been done by his predecessor, George W. Bush, through the Great Lakes Regional Collaborative. In each of his proposed annual budgets since fiscal year 2010, Obama has included a line item to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. But will the initiative continue once he leaves office?