U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $1.2 million for SUNY Brockport. This funding was allocated through the Environmental Protection Agency to research and monitor wetlands along the shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. During this five year project, data collected from across the Great Lakes Basin will be used to prevent further degradation and plan for future on-the-ground wetland restoration projects.
This project is a funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, launched in 2010, and will implement a coastal wetland monitoring program. In addition to SUNY Brockport, the Great Lakes monitoring program will work in collaboration with Central Michigan University, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Wisconsin campuses of Green Bay and River Falls, Lake Superior State University, University of Notre Dame, Grand Valley State University, University of Windsor, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the US Geological Survey, Environment Canada, and Bird Studies Canada.
“This investment will ensure we are properly monitoring the wetlands along the shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to protect these invaluable resources, as well as giving our SUNY Brockport students the opportunity to get up close and receive the hands-on training they need to advance their future careers in the environmental sciences,” said Senator Schumer. “Preserving New York’s most vital resources remains a top priority of mine and I am committed to ensuring top-notch institutions like SUNY Brockport have the resources they need to simultaneously conduct this critical research and work towards preserving our wetlands.”
“This federal funding to SUNY Brockport will provide additional resources to help monitor the wetlands that are vital to the health of Lakes Erie and Ontario,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I wrote to Administrator Hedman urging for this funding to be continued, so we can strengthen the health of our lakes and the health of our economy. Through this group collaboration, we can make a targeted effort to safeguard and restore our freshwater ecosystems.”
“The new funding will allow the wetlands team at The College at Brockport to assist in follow-up studies at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers restoration project at Braddock Bay and new USFWS projects at Long Pond, Buck Pond, and Salmon/West Creek that will begin this Fall and for which pre-restoration data were collected under the initial program,” said Douglas A. Wilcox, Ph.D., PWS, Empire Innovation Professor of Wetland Science Department of Environmental Science and Biology at SUNY College at Brockport. “In addition to support for restoration projects and monitoring of overall wetland health (including early detection of invasive species), large grants such as this provide opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students on the wetlands team to get extensive field training that is critical in career development.”
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was launched by the Obama Administration in 2010, and has funded projects in New York to improve water quality, combat invasive species, and restore wetlands and other habitats. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have supported annual funding for the GLRI through the budget and appropriations process, and are both cosponsors of S. 504, the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2015, which Congressionally authorize the GLRI.