Advocates for the Great Lakes are watching the presidential election and hoping the next US president will continue to prioritize restoration across the region.
Groups from New York to Michigan to Ontario say there’s still a lot of work to be done, and they hope the next president supports them in managing invasive species, addressing climate change, and cleaning up polluted areas.
Peter Annin is co-director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for freshwater innovation at Northland College in Wisconsin. He recently brought together a group of experts representing everything from commercial to environmental interests.
Annin says many ideas came out of the summit, including the desire to start actively preserving Great Lakes ecosystems.
“Should there be more dollars invested in preservation work,” he asks, “and maybe a little bit less in restoration work?”
Many of that group’s ideas echoed recommendations from the Great Lakes Commission earlier this year.
Local groups are also weighing in. Jill Jedlicka from the Buffalo Niagara RiverKeeper says the next administration needs to work closely with community leaders.
“It’s one thing to make judgments from offices in Washington,” says Jedlicka. “But if they don’t maintain that communication and understanding from the front lines then they’re not fully informed to make decisions.”
Mark Mattson with Lake Ontario WaterKeeper in Canada hopes the next US president will be a uniting force among the states, provinces, tribes, and others with a stake in the lakes.
“There’s so many different visions and different ideas about what needs to be addressed,” he says.