This week U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the University of Toledo will receive $500,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to help protect Lake Erie from the threat of invasive species like Asian carp. Specifically, the grant will be used towards developing “next-generation e-DNA sequencing” technology to better help identify the presence of invasive species in the Great Lakes region.
“This is excellent news for the Great Lakes region and the wellbeing of Ohio’s economy,” Brown said. “We rely on the Great Lakes to create jobs and help raise revenue for our local economies. With Asian carp a serious threat to the health of Lake Erie and its tributaries, this grant is a much needed step towards stopping the spread of invasive species.”
The EPA awarded the grant as a part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), an inter-agency effort to target the most significant problems in the region and jumpstart restoration efforts to protect, maintain, and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes. According to the State of Ohio, more than $10 billion of the state’s nearly $40 billion tourism industry is derived from counties along the Lake Erie shoreline.
Brown continues to fight the spread of Asian carp in the Great Lakes region. He also continues to fight to ensure the Great Lakes receive the necessary funding to strengthen Ohio’s economy. Last month, Brown helped secure more than $300 million in the bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations bill for the GLRI. Last July Brown and U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) called on the House of Representatives to make immediate changes to a bill that would slash the GLRI budget by nearly 80 percent, from $285 million dollars to just $60 million. Currently, these cuts are still intact as the bill continues to be considered by the House committee.
Brown is a co-sponsor of the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act (GLEEPA), bipartisan legislation which is aimed at preserving the Great Lakes and bolstering economic growth throughout the Great Lakes region. In May of 2013, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which included an amendment Brown introduced that would prevent the invasion of Asian carp into the Ohio River. Based on the Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act, and passed unanimously 95-0, the amendment would enable the federal government to have a more effective partnership with state and local entities that are working to slow the spread of Asian carp.