WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rob Portman (R-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced a bipartisan bill to support fish and wildlife in the Great Lakes. 

As leaders of the Senate’s Great Lakes Task Force, the senators reintroduced the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act to provide critical resources to conserve and restore fish and wildlife populations in the Great Lakes. The bill would authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 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 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. “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 Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act helps protect Lake Erie, Ohio’s top tourist destination, by delivering resources to Ohio and the Great Lakes region to address the greatest threats to our fish and wildlife — threats like invasive species and habitat degradation,” Portman said. “By reauthorizing this program through FY 2027, we are providing the Fish and Wildlife Service with the resources it needs to protect our Lakes and preserve our environment for generations to come.”

“Our Great Lakes fisheries and diverse wildlife attract millions of visitors each year and are vital to our state’s economy and job creation,” Stabenow said. “This legislation will help restore wildlife habitats while combating the serious threat of invasive species."

“The Great Lakes play a crucial role in Indiana’s ecosystem,” Young said. “I’m proud to introduce the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act to help restore wetlands, watersheds, and grasslands that add to the diversity of Hoosier wildlife.”

“The reauthorization of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act would 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, Inland Fisheries Policy Manager at the American Sportfishing Association.

“The Alliance for the Great Lakes greatly appreciates the leadership of Senator Klobuchar to reauthorize the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.  For more than two decades this important program has provided grants to protect and restore fish and wildlife and their habitat in the Great Lakes Basin and is critical to the preservation of these resources,” said Joel Brammeier, President and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

“We are pleased to see the reauthorization of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, and we thank Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Rob Portman for their continued leadership in the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and all who rely on them,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Fish and wildlife are an integral part of living in the Great Lakes region and many of our communities rely on fish and wildlife for both food and the money they bring in through tourism and recreation. Federal restoration investments through this important program continue to produce results in communities throughout the region, and we are excited to see those continue and grow further.”

This legislation would provide assistance to Great Lakes fish and wildlife agencies to encourage cooperative conservation, restoration, and management of the fish and wildlife resources and their habitats by reauthorizing $6 million annually through 2027 to implement restoration projects and USFWS activities of regional importance to the Great Lakes. It would serve an important role in implementing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and renew continued cooperative efforts to address impacts associated with invasive species throughout the Great Lakes Basin.

The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act has been endorsed by Alliance for the Great Lakes, Ducks Unlimited (DU), Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Great Lakes Commission, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, and The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

As one of the vice-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Klobuchar is a leading advocate for the protection of the Great Lakes. She has worked to bolster pollution clean-up efforts in the Great Lakes, prevent diversions of Great Lakes water out of the region, and establish new water conservation and environmental protection standards in the Great Lakes area. She has also fought to keep aquatic invasive species out of Minnesota’s rivers and lakes, including authoring legislation to help fight the spread of invasive carp that was signed into law in 2014.