Clean Wisconsin releases “Great Lakes, Great Shores” report

GREEN BAY — Elected state officials, local leaders and concerned citizens voiced their concern regarding the health of the Great Lakes today in a field hearing held by the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

U.S. Representative Steve Kagen, representing the eighth district of Wisconsin, Subcommittee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, and other subcommittee members were in attendance to hear the testimony of Wisconsin residents and leaders.

Charles Imig, a Clean Wisconsin member and Commodore of the Washington Island Yacht Club, is passionate about the Great Lakes. He testified at the hearing. “I’ve spent every summer on Washington Island since 1943. Over the last 9 years, the Lake Michigan water levels have been receding at an alarming rate, threatening the livelihood of those who live and work on the island, and the lifestyle of those who enjoy Lake Michigan,” Imig said.

Immediately following the hearing, Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization, released the report “Great Lakes, Great Shores: Taking Action to Restore the Great Lakes for Wisconsin Families.” The report identifies major threats plaguing the Great Lakes including aquatic invasive species, mercury, habitat destruction and raw sewage overflows. It further charts a path toward restoration through the implementation of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, a collection of strategies designed to protect Great Lakes water and ensure its sustainable use.

“The Great Lakes seem infinitely vast, but are vulnerable. Serious threats – like polluted runoff, contaminated sediments, invasive species, and more, are hurting the Great Lakes,” said Melissa Malott, Water Program Director at Clean Wisconsin. “However, there are manageable solutions to these problems, and we need our state and federal legislators to come together and focus on restoring the Great Lakes. Doing so will restore the Great Lakes, and protect and grow our economy. The longer we wait to restore the Great Lakes, the harder it will be,” she said. “We applaud Representative Kagen and the other Subcommittee members for recognizing we must act now to protect this invaluable resource for future generations.”