Lake Michigan is seen from Oak Creek's Bender Park. (Photo by Jonathon Sadowski)
Lake Michigan is seen from Oak Creek's Bender Park. (Photo by Jonathon Sadowski)

Sen. Baldwin is a co-sponsor of the measure that passed the House this week

Despite another year of signals that the Trump administration will propose a new federal budget with deep cuts in domestic spending, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators will today call for a renewal and spending increase in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program which for the past decade has provided $2.5 billion to 4,706 projects that clean up pollution and restore habitat for wildlife.

The GLRI was reauthorized on Wednesday by the House of Representatives for another five years with funding eventually expanded to $475 million in fiscal year 2026. 

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has earned bipartisan support in Congress and is critical for the health of our region, our communities, and our clean water resources. It helps us clean up polluted sites, restore water quality and combat invasive species,” said Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin. “Preserving the Great Lakes is not just an environmental goal – it is an economic necessity for Wisconsin. The House did its job and now the Senate needs to take action by passing my bipartisan legislation because making stronger, long-term investments in GLRI will help us ensure that our Great Lakes are protected and preserved for generations to come.”

In one Wisconsin example, the southern Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek was the recipient of a $250,000 grant in 2015.

Using the funds, the city transformed former industrial brownfield into what is now the public Lake Vista Park, which features walking paths, scenic overlooks of Lake Michigan and a rentable pavilion. The park provided public lakefront access to that stretch of land for the first time in 80 years, according to an EPA press release.

According to a press release from Baldwin’s office, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has tripled the successful cleanup and delisting of areas of concern, reduced phosphorus runoff and the threat of harmful algal blooms, controlled and stopped the advancement of invasive species, and restored wildlife habitat over thousands of miles of rivers and waterways.

Among Baldwin’s co-sponsors for the GLRI reauthorize are Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Todd Young (R-IN), and 40 members of the House of Representatives.