In March, Donald Trump proposed to cut $50 million from the Great Lakes Protection Fund in order to help pay for a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
A budget deal reached in May by the House of Representatives and the Senate reversed the cut, resulting in the maintenance of the $300 million needed for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the current fiscal year.
In spite of the deal, Trump has vowed to cut the budget for the Great Lakes Protection Fund to zero in 2018.
I wanted to better understand what’s at stake when it comes to Trump’s planned cuts to funding for monitoring and protecting the Great Lakes. So, I left yesterday on a 1,500-plus mile circumnavigation of Lake Huron. (I’m planning a follow-up ride around Lake Superior in August).
Lake Huron is the second largest Great Lake by surface area, and the fifth largest freshwater lake in the world. It possesses the longest shoreline of all the Great Lakes, counting the shorelines of its 30,000 islands.
Of importance to both Michigan and Ontario, Lake Huron is of both ecological and economic importance; and, sadly, it’s health is in decline.
Invasive species are testing the resilience of the lake, as well as the resilience of the communities on its shorelines. Likewise, concerns about contamination of the lake—in the form of microbial and chemical contaminants—are posing risks to both human and environmental health.
Lake Huron, like all of the Great Lakes, is worthy of our respect, and of our keenly-focused attention. Cutting funding, which would be used to promote the health of the lakes—and the people who depend upon them—is not normal.
It’s Tuesday, the 6th of June, 2017.
You can find me on Twitter at @DecisionLab.