Supplemental bill passed by Senate this week includes money for natural resource improvements in Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay watersheds
LANSING, Mich. (March 3, 2023) — This week, the Michigan Senate passed House Bill 4016, a supplemental funding bill that included $10 million in funding secured by Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint) for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for wetland restoration, enhancement and acquisitions in the Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay watersheds.
“Clean water is not just essential for drinking, but also for the health and stability of our communities, our wildlife, and our economy,” said Sen. Cherry. “I am proud to have championed this effort to promote cleaner water systems throughout the state, as wetlands serve as fundamental filters for our Great Lakes.”
The DNR will use this money to aid in the reduction of phosphorus, nitrogen, or sediment entering the waters of Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay. These efforts will improve the water quality of these water bodies and support and enhance Great Lakes tourism and related economic sectors that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts will benefit conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen and women, and the many local businesses and industries they support.
The need for investment and improvement in wetlands in areas that drain into Lake Erie and the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron has had bipartisan support in the Legislature and been backed by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Ducks Unlimited and Audubon-Great Lakes. These waterways—and the wildlife, residents, and businesses that depend on them—have been hurt by major pollution from nutrient-laden agricultural runoff from farmlands. Wetlands can help neutralize this threat by filtering out nutrients from manure spread on farm fields as well as other fertilizers that can lead to toxic algae blooms.
The supplemental budget bill also includes funding for infrastructure investments and improvements to Marshall, Michigan, to prepare the area for a next-generation lithium battery facility being built by Ford, and money for Michigan-based construction company Walbridge to build the facility. The bill also secures funding for a number of important priorities, including: water affordability, hospital staffing retention, nursing home rate increases, health workforce stabilization, community violence intervention, housing, and community and neighborhood grants.