Launch of America's Great Waters Coalition underscores commitment to restoring America's estuaries

Dec. 8, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 8, 2009 -- An alliance representing more than 30 organizations came together today with lawmakers from across the nation to launch America's Great Waters Coalition, representing 9 of the largest water ecosystems in 27 of the lower 48 states...

• Coalition unites to restore water ecosystems to protect people, wildlife, and the economy

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 8, 2009 -- An alliance representing more than 30 organizations came together today with lawmakers from across the nation to launch America's Great Waters Coalition, representing 9 of the largest water ecosystems in 27 of the lower 48 states -- and involving nearly half of the country's population.

From the Chesapeake to Puget Sound, from the Great Lakes to the Everglades -- the nation's great waters are the backbone of America's economy and way of life. However, America's great waters face urgent threats, including sewage contamination, invasive species, habitat destruction and climate change. The nation's commitment to our great waters has not kept pace with these urgent threats, impacting people, businesses, communities and wildlife.

"The degradation of our nation's great waters has a serious environmental and economic impact on our communities," said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). "I look forward to working with America's Great Waters Coalition to improve these important ecosystems."

To restore the water ecosystems that sustain people, wildlife and the economy, America's Great Waters Coalition is speaking with a united voice to act now, before the problems get worse and the solutions more costly.

"Research has found that cleaning up the Great Lakes and its waterways -- by improving water and sewer infrastructure, restoring and preserving wetlands and coastal habitats, and cleaning up toxic areas -- would create jobs and inject billions of dollars into the regional economy," said Jennifer S. Vey, fellow, Brookings Institution. "This indicates that directing public investments toward improving the health of all of the nation's Great Waters -- from the Chesapeake to the San Francisco Bay -- simply makes good economic sense."

"I applaud the efforts of America's Great Waters Coalition to preserve and protect water resources such as the Long Island Sound, which has sustained New York and Connecticut communities for hundreds of years," said Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "These resources must be properly maintained for future generations."

A national coalition will help leverage the vast political support among citizens from across the nation.

"This unprecedented alliance is united in our call to protect, preserve and restore our nation's great waters," said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. "It's time to lift all boats and restore the waters that millions of people depend on for their health, jobs and way of life. Restoring America's great waters will benefit the country's economy and environment -- and will be vital in addressing the impacts of global warming."

"Working together with our elected officials, we can ensure our great waters are preserved and protected for our children and grandchildren," said Theresa Pierno, executive vice president for the National Parks Conservation Association. "Restoring our great waters is essential to the health of our national parks, wildlife, and the economy."

"America's estuaries are the most threatened ecosystems in the United States," said Jeff Benoit, president and CEO of Restore America's Estuaries. "Because they are on the frontline of climate change, and at the same time essential to our nation's economic and environmental health, it's long past time we invested in their future."

The America's Great Waters Coalition is an alliance of more than 30 national, regional, state, and local organizations working to protect, preserve, and restore America's Great Waters, which include, but are not limited to, the Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Louisiana, the Everglades, Great Lakes, Gulf of Maine, Long Island Sound, Mississippi River, Puget Sound, San Francisco/Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

America's Great Waters Coalition includes the following organizations:

Alliance for the Great Lakes
American Rivers
Audubon New York
Biodiversity Project
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Citizen's Campaign for the Environment
Committee on Middle Fork Vermilion River
Corsica River Conservancy
Environment America
Environmental Defense Fund
Everglades Law Center
Florida Wildlife Federation
Freshwater Future
Friends of the Chemung River Watershed
Gulf of Maine Restoration and Conservation Initiative
Gulf Restoration Network
Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited
Indiana Wildlife Federation
Izaak Walton League of America
Lake Erie Region Conservancy

League of Conservation Voters
Michigan United Conservation Clubs
Michigan Wildlife Conservancy
Milwaukee Riverkeeper
National Audubon Society
National Parks Conservation Association
National Wildlife Federation
People for Puget Sound
Planning and Conservation League
Restore America's Estuaries
Save The Bay -- San Francisco
Save the Dunes Conservation Fund
Sierra Club
The Watershed Center - Grand Traverse Bay
The Wetlands Initiative
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Trout Unlimited
Washington Wildlife Federation
Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association