Drastic Cuts Proposed To Great Lakes Protection

Alarm bells have been sounded over potentially drastic cuts to the protection of the Great Lakes.

US President Donald Trump's administration is proposing to slash the budget to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97%.

The executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research thought it was a joke when he first heard it.

Daniel Heath tells CTV Windsor, the lakes represent 20% per cent of the world's surface fresh water and provides drinking water for 45-million people.

"It may save some money, but it would put back Great Lakes conservation by decades," says Heath.

Derek Coronado of the Citizens Environment Alliance says this is a "public health issue" and a "human security issue."

"It's not good for fisheries in Lake Erie and tourism.  Who wants to go to a beach with toxic material," says Coronado.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative helps fight invasive species, curb nutrient fueled algae blooms, clean up toxic messes and restore sensitive fish and wildlife habitat.

Under the Trump administration's proposal, funding would drop to $10-million a year from $300-million.