"The restoration and the revitalization that we're seeing on the waterfront in particular on the buffalo river would not have happened if it wasn't for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative," Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of the Buffalo-Niagara WaterKeeper.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative began in 2010 to protect and restore the Great Lakes, which includes:
- Cleaning up areas of the Great Lakes,
- Controlling and preventing invasive species, and
- Restoring the habitat of native species
Jedlicka says 50 million dollars from the initiative benefited restoration efforts right here in the Queen City.
The Great Lakes Restoration Conference is also happening in Buffalo from Tuesday to Thursday. The conference consists more than 100 environmental organizations with one goal: "restoring and protecting North America’s greatest freshwater resources, the Great Lakes."
"We've actually seen an amazing transformation around the region but I have to say that buffalo is really one of our poster child examples of what can happen when you invest in revitalizing and restoring a community," Todd Ambs, Campaign Director of Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition.
One of the main concerns for supporters of the GLRI?
"Continuing to see a strong federal investment for restoration work across the great lakes region," Ambs said.
President Trump's proposed budget plan calls for cutting $300 million from the program, which supporters believe could end the program entirely.
"This is really about investing in the future of the great lakes region," Ambs said.