The Senate yesterday passed the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, S. 2430, to reauthorize and improve the current program to provide resources to support fish and wildlife restoration in the Great Lakes. Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Mike DeWine (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, introduced the bipartisan bill, which was co-sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and George Voinovich (R-OH).
The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act was enacted in 1990 and in 1998, and S. 2430 would reauthorize this important program. The bill authorizes $12 million for the state and tribal grant program to restore fish and wildlife in the lakes, authorizes up to $6 million for fish and wildlife regional projects--a new component of the program, requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide information on-line for fish and wildlife managers, calls for several reports on fish and wildlife in the lakes, and maintains the Fish and Wildlife Service's Fishery Resources Offices and the Great Lakes Coordination Office. The authorization of appropriations for this bill is increased from $8 million to $20 million per year.
A companion bill, H.R.4953, introduced by Reps. Dale Kildee (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.