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Upton applauds passage of Water Resources Development Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) commended the U.S. House of Representatives for its unanimous passage of H.R. 7575, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, vital legislation that will support southwest Michigan’s water infrastructure.

As part of the bill, Upton was able to successfully include three key priorities: 1) Authorization of the construction of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam system; 2) Language urging the completion of the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency study and expanding the study to assess the impact of record high lake levels; and 3) Language encouraging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide beach nourishment to the shoreline and affected beaches south of the New Buffalo Harbor.  

“The WRDA passage provides southwest Michigan with a huge victory, addressing a number of issues that have been a priority for our region for years,” Upton said. “It advances protections for our Great Lakes, keeps invasive species out, and takes necessary step to address the erosion and record lake levels. Bordering Lake Michigan, we simply have one of the most beautiful districts in the country. And the entire Great Lakes region is a national treasure. It is so important to ensure our 5,200-mile coastline is protected because of the four million people who call the coastline home, the 60 commercial harbors that create incredible economic activity, and the billions of dollars generated from tourism.”

The WRDA 2020 authorizes the construction of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, which will be carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers and will be designed to prevent invasive Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam is a critical chokepoint in the Chicago waterway system. In July 2019, the Michigan delegation visited the site and toured the facility to see firsthand where recommended technologies and structural measures could be deployed to stop Asian carp. 

The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency study assesses threats and resiliency measures for coastal communities, identifying areas vulnerable to severe storms and recommend particular measures to bolster the coastline’s ability to withstand, recover from, and adapt to future lake level conditions and increased storm severity.  

H.R. 7575 now advances to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

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