New Great Lakes conservation initiative announced

Bay City, Mich. – The Great Lakes have been designated as a Critical Conservation Area, which means the region will be eligible for increased funding from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program under the new Farm Bill.

The announcement was made this afternoon by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI), chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at a special event at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center.

The new conservation initiative, created by Sen. Stabenow in the 2014 Farm Bill, will strengthen our region’s ability to address priority watersheds with the greatest conservation needs. This will enable the Great Lakes states, regional organizations, landowners and other partners to respond to local priorities related to soil erosion, habitat protection and water quality, while safeguarding the health of the Great Lakes.

Ken Johnson, chairman of the Great Lakes Commission, noted that expediting implementation of and ensuring funding for new Farm Bill programs has been a longstanding priority of the Great Lakes Commission.

“We are pleased to see that water quality protection measures, including the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, are now being implemented,” Johnson said. “Soil erosion and runoff of fertilizers and other chemicals from agricultural lands are a significant source of pollution to rivers and streams and can contribute to harmful algal blooms – a growing problem in the Great Lakes.”

The 2014 Farm Bill, a five-year program, was approved by the U.S. Congress in February 2014 and is called the most significant conservation legislation in generations. Johnson commended Sen. Stabenow for her leadership in passage of the bill, an important opportunity to safeguard the Great Lakes and address threats to agricultural productivity and water quality.

For immediate release: May 27, 2014  |  Download PDF

Contact: Tim Eder,, office: 734-971-9135, cell: 734-604-7281


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Kenneth G. Johnson (Wisconsin), is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formalObserver program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at

© Great Lakes Commission  |  2805 S. Industrial Hwy Suite 100  Ann Arbor, MI 48104-6791  | Directions

tel: 734-971-9135  |  fax: 734-971-9150  |  Staff directory | Site map

Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook GLIN Partner The binational commissions of the Great Lakes region