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All Hands on Deck event promotes Great Lakes protection

• Jul 3, 2017 at 12:30 PM

Area residents and visitors joined U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, at Grand Haven State Park on Monday morning for an event called All Hands on Deck Great Lakes.

The event was one of 64 gatherings happening in communities and at public beaches in six states to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the lakes and funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

All Hands on Deck was started by Kimberly Simon of Charlevoix in March to raise awareness and bring people together in a nonpartisan way to advocate for the Great Lakes. Simon launched the idea after the Trump administration proposed eliminating funds for the GLRI.

“Our Great Lakes are crucial to the health of both Michigan’s economy and our people, and we have a special responsibility to protect them,” said Stabenow, co-chairperson of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “I’d like to thank All Hands on Deck for raising awareness and bringing people together to stand up for the critical resources we need to protect our precious Great Lakes.”

Simon said: “Interest just keeps growing day by day — the momentum is amazing. The idea resonates with people across a very broad region because they all realize the Great Lakes are precious resources that are essential for our environment, our economies and our way of life.”

Stabenow championed the GLRI in 2010. The initiative is critical to supporting more than 1.5 million Great Lakes jobs, fighting invasive species like Asian carp and protecting Michigan’s way of life, officials say.

In May, Stabenow led the bipartisan effort to successfully pass full funding for the Great Lakes for the remainder of fiscal year 2017. She has been asking Michigan families to join her in helping to save the funding for next year by sharing stories and memories at her Great Lakes website.

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