Michigan’s First District has more freshwater shoreline than any other Congressional District in the United States. Today, Rep. Jack Bergman voted in favor of a package of bills, including legislation he cosponsored, to protect and conserve the Great Lakes and increase coastal resiliency.
The bipartisan legislation passed the House 262-151.
“Those of us who call the First District home understand the importance of conserving the Great Lakes and protecting our rich sportsman heritage. I was proud to cosponsor legislation to support our Great Lakes fishermen and fishery research, and that the House came together in a bipartisan manner to prioritize our Great Lakes, increase resources for tribal communities, authorize programs to better address shoreline erosion, and increase fishing opportunities in our waters,” said Rep. Bergman.
The following bills were included in the final House package:
H.R. 1023 – Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act of 2019
Authorizes the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct monitoring, scientific assessments, and research in support of fisheries within the Great Lakes.
H.R. 3115 – Living Shorelines Act of 2019
Directs NOAA to award grants to state/local governments, tribes, and nonprofits to implement climate-resilient living shoreline projects. Importantly, these grants will be used to help restore shorelines, with an emphasis given to communities with a history of coastal erosion.
Additionally, Amendment No. 6, introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga and passed by voice vote in the House, requires no less than 10 percent of the funds awarded under the Living Shoreline Grant Program to be available to projects located within the Great Lakes.
H.R. 2189 – Digital Coast Act
Codifies NOAA’s Digital Coast Program, which provides data, tools, and training for communities to use and manage their coastal resources. Revises the program to place greater focus on critical coastal management issues.
H.R. 1314 – Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act Amendments of 2019
Reauthorizes the ICOOS Act through FY2024. This act mandated the establishment of a national integrated system of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing systems coordinated at the federal level to track and predict events related to weather.
H.R. 729 – Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act
Authorizes the Department of Commerce to award grants to Indian tribes for multiple coastal zone objectives, including preserving areas that hold ecological or cultural significance and implementing shoreline stabilization measures for public safety.
H.R. 3596 – Keep America’s Waterfronts Working Act
Establishes the Working Waterfront Grant Program & Working Waterfronts Preservation Loan Fund to help fund plans to preserve and expand access to waters to persons engaged in commercial/recreational fishing, boating businesses, aquaculture, boatbuilding, or other water-dependent commercial activity.
H.R. 1747 – National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act
Codifies the National Fish Habitat Partnership, which seeks strategic partnerships to improve fish habitat and increase fishing opportunities. This program is voluntary and non-regulatory, and are comprised of representatives of federal, state, and local agencies, conservation and sportsmen’s organizations, private landowners, and the business sector.