U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and a group of others from the upper Midwest are asking whether a new report on ocean research over the next decade could impact studies -- and research spending -- in the Great Lakes.
Peters, D-Mich., led a group of Great Lakes senators writing to the National Science Foundation on Friday wanting to know what impact if any the recommendations made in the recent National Academy of Sciences report could have on research efforts in the Lakes.
“The physical and economic scale of the Great Lakes region, and the overlap in research questions to those in the open ocean, suggest that the lessons from (the report) may apply equally to the Great Lakes region,” Peters and the others wrote. They also asked for a breakdown of research investment in the Great Lakes in recent years and “information on future opportunities available to support Great Lakes related basic research and education activities.”
Peters is the top ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee, which oversees the National Science Foundation. Others signing the letter included U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, also D-Mich., as well as Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
In recent years, the National Science Foundation has provided Great Lakes funding which has included a $1.9 million grant to the University of Michigan for research into helping coastal communities affected by toxic algae blooms, such as those seen in recent summers on Lake Erie.
The National Academy of Sciences report made a series of recommendations to NSF, including that it rein in costs on research infrastructure, which includes its research fleet, so as not to impact “core research programs” and adjust spending in the face of flat or slowly growing budgets.