Statement of Sen. John Glenn
Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, S.659

Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the committee for holding this hearing on wildlife bills. While many of these bills are 'small' in comparison to others taken up by the committee this during the 105th Congress, they are nonetheless critically important to the regions and resources affected.

I introduced The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act GLFWRA of 1997 (S. 659) in the Senate in April of 1997, in coordination with the introduction of the companion bill (H.R. 1481) in the House by Congressman Steve LaTourette. It's been a long process, but with the favorable hearing held in the House June 18th and the hearing held by this committee here today, I am positive that we can still pass this critical piece of legislation this year.

The primary purpose of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act is to implement proposals that address recommendations put forth by the Great Lakes Fishery Resources Restoration Study. To this end, the Act reauthorizes the existing Great Lakes Coordination and Great Lakes Fishery Resources Offices. The bill also sets up a proposal review committee identified with the existing Council of Lake Committees to review grant proposals and identify projects of the highest priority for the restoration of the fish and wildlife resources of the Great Lakes Basin. The Act encourages, supports, and coordinates Federal and non-federal cooperative habitat restoration and natural resource management programs in the Great Lakes Basin.

The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act represents a new generation of environmental legislation, one that recognizes the complexity and inter-relatedness of ecosystems. This act seeks to address natural resource management in a comprehensive and conscientious manner by building partnerships among the Great Lakes states, U.S. and Canadian governments, and native American Tribes. Through regional cooperation, I believe we can address the environmental and economic concerns of the Great Lakes Basin and continue on the road towards the recovery of this precious natural and national resource. By passing this legislation, we in the Congress will be taking the right next step toward responsible stewardship of the Great Lakes as we venture into the new millennium.

The bill enjoys widespread bicameral and bipartisan support. The bill has eight Senate sponsors, including myself. Twenty-eight of our colleagues on the House have cosponsored the companion measure. This bill represents the consensus of a diverse collaboration of tribal, state, federal and international agencies with jurisdiction over the management of fish and wildlife resources of the Great Lakes. The bill also has received favorable review and broad support of organizations throughout the Great Lakes region for the approach it takes towards restoration of the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

This fall, as I look back on the earth from space, I will be sure to look down on the Great Lakes. I know that they will be a cleaner, safer place for both humans and wildlife to live than they were at the time of my last flight because of the efforts we have made over the past decades. With the passage of this legislation, I will also be sure that they will continue to become even cleaner, safer places where fish and wildlife communities, and the human communities who enjoy them can continue to prosper.