Quigley, Upton Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Fund Great Lakes Science Center
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Great Lakes Task Force and Vice Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, and Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06) reintroduced the Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act of 2017, bipartisan legislation that provides the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Great Lakes Science Center with the dedicated funding it needs to conduct critical research and support the $7 billion Great Lakes sport and commercial fishery industry. U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the companion bill in the Senate.
“A lack of clarity in funding has left the Great Lakes far behind its marine peers in the 21st century technology and resources that scientists need to better coordinate multi-state fishery research, respond to invasive species threats, and do what’s necessary to ensure this vital, billion dollar fishery remains healthy and productive,” said Rep. Quigley. “I am proud to reintroduce the Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act, which will allow the USGS Fishery Science Center to maintain its science leadership role and better monitor this ecological and economic driver in our region.”
“The Great Lakes provide incredible environmental and economic benefits to Michigan, our region, and the nation,” said Rep. Upton. “Commercial and recreational fisheries are a central part of that. The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act is bipartisan legislation that will help protect and maximize these benefits by ensuring fishery management agencies have research and data essential to the healthy management of the Great Lakes ecosystem. It will provide much-needed resources and cutting-edge technology to ensure our fisheries remain a strong economic driver for generations to come. I’m proud to support this legislation and look forward to its consideration.”
"The Great Lakes fishery is worth $7 billion annually to the people of the United States and Canada, and science is the foundation for sustaining this valuable resource," said David Ullrich, chair of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. "The legislation that Congressman Quigley and Congressman Upton have introduced today will bring innovative science and cutting-edge technology to the Great Lakes, which will give managers the tools they need to improve and sustain the fishery."
The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization (GLFRA) Act authorizes the US Geological Survey (USGS) Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) to ensure critical scientific support for the commercial Great Lakes fishery industry. The GLFRA Act will replace the current authorization, widely viewed as vague and confusing, and piecemeal funding of the USGS-GLSC, with a dedicated funding stream and a clear authorization to allow the Science Center to more effectively contribute to Great Lake research efforts.
The Great Lakes provide significant economic benefits for both the region and nation, in addition to being a unique and diverse ecosystem. The Great Lakes hold 18% of the world’s fresh water supply and covers over 9,000 miles of shoreline. Over 40 million people depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water, recreation, fish and wildlife related activities, industrial water supply and commercial navigation. Within the region, the Great Lakes support more than 1.5 million jobs and generate $62B in wages. 50,000 jobs alone are sustained directly by the Great Lakes fishery.
As a member of the House Great Lakes Task Force and Vice Chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, Rep. Quigley has been a stalwart protector of the Great Lakes and the environment at large. Since assuming his role as the only Illinois member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has pushed for increased funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and worked to secure over $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in FY16. Last summer, Rep. Quigley visited the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Research Vessel Sturgeon at Navy Pier for a discussion on the value of the Great Lakes fishery, the changing ecology of the Great Lakes, the threat of invasive, non-native species to the Great Lakes’ ecosystem, the inter-jurisdictional management structure, and the role of the USGS.