On Tuesday, representatives Brian Higgins (NY-27) and Kathy Hochul (NY-26) announced $1.4 million in Environmental Protection Agency grants awarded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Recipients such as the Research Foundation of SUNY-Buffalo State College will use the funds to address invasive species in New York state.
"The Great Lakes is an underappreciated regional and national asset, which contributes significantly to our economy and environment," said Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Caucus. "According to the Brookings Institution, Buffalo alone would see economic gains between $600 million to $1.1 billion if the Great Lakes are restored. Investments like these move us closer to that goal."
"This funding is an important step in the cleanup and restoration of our Great Lakes and surrounding ecosystems," Hochul said. "The continued health of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and other Western New York waters is of critical importance to our economy, especially our tourism, recreation and fishing industries. I will continue to support efforts to protect our waterways as they are critical to the creation of jobs and economic growth in Western New York."
In Congress, Higgins and Hochul have advocated for robust funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Initiative helps New York state address invasive threats such as Hydrilla, a harmful aquatic weed recently discovered across Western New York, including North Tonawanda and the Finger Lakes.
These grants are among 21 invasive species grants awarded this year through the EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, nationwide. Recipients include The Nature Conservancy, Cornell University, the Research Foundation of SUNY-Buffalo State College, Central Michigan University, and Paul Smith's College of Arts & Sciences.