Congresswoman Kaptur is a strong advocate of environmental responsibility and progressive policies to revitalize the Great Lakes ecosystem. A collaborative approach is needed to find solutions to the challenges facing the Great Lakes such as nutrient runoff and algal blooms, invasive species, low water levels.

Visitors Center, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest Region

Congresswoman Kaptur supports a permanent ban on drilling in the Great Lakes, of which Lake Erie is the shallowest, and a strict ban on diversion of Great Lakes water. While the Southwest and West confront a water crisis, the Great Lakes must protect and promote our abundant supply of fresh water.


The Ninth District stretches across the largest coastal district in Ohio which spans five coastal counties. It includes It is home to the only national wildlife refuge in Ohio, the Ottawa Wildlife Refuge, which is located east of Toledo in the intersection of the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways.


For the last decade, the Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership has served as a model for organizations nationally. The Partnership has created a regional collaborative effort as federal, state and local governments negotiate a plan for restoring the watershed in the lake’s western basin. By planning at the watershed level, governments and nonprofits leverage dollars more effectively, planning with the strategies of their partners at the same table. The partnership has formalized the process for highlighting the natural wonders of Ohio’s North Coast.

To learn more about restoration in Northern Ohio, click here.


Toledo is one of 11 communities to be named as a member of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials made the announcement in April 2013 that Toledo will be included in the partnership program by which more than a dozen federal agencies work together to revitalize urban waterways and the communities that surround them.


With millions of people relying on the water resource of the Great Lakes and a $5-7 billion recreational fishing industry, our region's economic benefit from restoring the integrity of the lakes is inestimable.


The newest threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem is a potential invasion of Asian carp. Silver and Bighead carp are voracious eaters, capable of displacing native fish and wreaking havoc on Lake Erie's $1 billion fishing industry. Both species have caused serious damage to ecosystems in other American waterways, and both are making their way up the Mississippi toward the access points on or near the Great Lakes. Of special concern is the most viable pathway, the man-made Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

Representative Kaptur has joined other Great Lakes leaders in calling for the restoration of the natural divide between the Chicago waterway system and Lake Michigan. She co-sponsored the Stop Invasive Species Act in 2012, which requires the Army Corps of Engineers to submit to Congress an expedited action plan for addressing invasive species threatening the Great Lakes.


Lily Spang, Toledo, was 16 when she won the 2009-2010 National Junior Duck Stamp competition

In 2003, John Dingell and Congresswoman Kaptur shepherded the passage of HR 289, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. The legislation expanded this international and state refuge system.

Congresswoman Kaptur continues to secure federal dollars to construct the Ottawa Wildlife Refuge Complex, acquire land for the refuge, create the Fallen Timbers Battlefield Monument and support restoration of the Perry’s Victory Monument.

Congresswoman Kaptur has also supported the Maumee Valley National Heritage Corridor concept.

Click here for information about the Bald Eagle's comeback to Ohio.

Do Monarch Butterflies’ Woes Signal Broader Problems for Other Species?


H.R. 188. The Twenty First Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act. Congresswoman Kaptur’s bill would authorize a modern version of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was one of the most successful and popular programs in the New Deal. Our nation has crushing infrastructure needs, including our parks, trails, forests and waterways. We can address unemployment by putting people to work rebuilding our infrastructure.

The Community Parks Revitalization Act of 2013. Congresswoman Kaptur is a co-sponsor of this bill, which would authorize matching federal grants to assist local communities in developing or redeveloping park and recreation infrastructure.