Great Lakes to be involved in Regional Conservation Partnership - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Great Lakes to be involved in Regional Conservation Partnership Program

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BAY COUNTY (WJRT) - (05/27/14) - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow was in Bay County Tuesday afternoon with a big announcement involving one of our greatest natural resources.

The Great Lakes are one out of eight regions in the U.S. that will have the opportunity to receive more than $1 billion in federal funding for conservation efforts.

Stabenow and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture made the announcement at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center in Bangor Township.

Senator Stabenow says they picked the Saginaw Bay to make this announcement because people here are already working to make the bay more beautiful and because there are some environmental issues that need fixing.

"We're talking about dealing with issues that will clean up the water, use the beaches, be swimming," Sen. Stabenow said.

Stabenow points to issues such as manure run-off into the water shed and toxic algae blooms - issues that threaten Saginaw Bay and the Great Lakes as a whole.

"Now we're talking about not just one farm - but how an entire area can be doing similar management practices so we can have the broadest kind of impact," Stabenow said.

It's called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and the idea is to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors.

Farmers, universities, non-profits, along with the local government can design conservation projects and apply for federal funds.

$1.2 billion is being pumped into this 5 year program.

"For regional areas and rural areas, it means jobs. This work is going to be done by local contractors," said Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agriculture Secretary.

They say this is the first collaborative partnership of its kind - and it's possible because of the the 2014 Farm Bill.

"It's everyone coming together and saying we want to solve a big problem in the Saginaw Bay," Stabenow said.

For more information on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, click HERE.
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