Washington D.C. February 24, 2010 Great Lakes Day
Today Save Maumee Grassroots Org., Save the Dunes and Healing Our Waters met in person with representatives from the offices of:
- Senator Richard Lugar
- Representative Mike Pence
- Representative Brad Ellsworth
- Representative Andre Carson
- Representative Mark Souder
Information packets were received by:
- Representative Joe Donnelly
- Senator Evan Bayh
- Our coalition of groups from Indiana descended upon Capitol Hill to ask for support of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding to; aid in stopping invasive species (most notably Asian Carp), cleaning up toxic sediments, stopping polluted runoff, preventing beach contamination, restoring degraded wetlands and protecting fish and wildlife resources. Congressional action is needed on several regional priorities. Too much time has been spent avoiding issues.
Great Lakes Task Force Great Lakes Alliance Our Healing Waters National Wildlife Association all had speakers to brief us on issues for Hill visits along with our own agendas. It included state-by-state planning, lobbing refresher, and education about urgent issues facing the Great Lakes and priorities. Literally millions of citizens were represented at our meetings with lawmakers.
Our group believes that congress should strengthen accountability, provide transparency, boost coordination with stakeholders and ensure a strong scientific foundation for Great Lakes restoration efforts.
Save Maumee Grassroots Org. representing northeast Indiana specifically asked for:
- Funding to develop and implement a watershed management plan for the Upper Maumee in Indiana/Ohio to improve the receiving waters in Ohio downstream.
- Fix failing sewers and drinking water infrastructure.
- Stronger enforcement, oversight of NPDES ( System) permits; and fines for illegally discharging more than straight pipe permits allow.
- Anti-degradation laws (passed down from federal law) need to be correlated and consistent between states and nations sharing the same receiving waters.
- Create alternative designation for wetlands to be considered a vital protected area to alleviate flooding, pollution and green space need.
- Floodplains should remain free and clear of structures and/or added fill dirt
We realize that planning is an important element, yet immediate projects on the ground action is needed through projects on the ground are how improvements are actually made!
Our groups were also honorably received at the Canadian American Embassy with cocktails and nice appetizers!
Save Maumee Grassroots Organization Founder