Updated: 05/22/2014 11:15 PM
Created: 05/22/2014 10:43 PM WDIO.com
At least 10 percent of all federal funding for harbor improvement projects will go to the Great Lakes region under newly approved congressional legislation.
The requirement is part of the $12.3 billion Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which the Senate approved Thursday.
The House earlier this week passed the bill, which now heads to President Barack Obama for signature.
Besides guaranteeing the Great Lakes a share of future harbor spending, the bill designates the lakes as a single navigational system for funding purposes. Supporters say that means smaller ports will have a better chance of getting money for maintenance work.
The bill also calls for more spending on harbor dredging. According to Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office, the backlog of sediment due to insufficient dredging on the Great Lakes is more than 18 million cubic yards and is estimated to cost $200 million.
She told the Senate floor Thursday that backlog has hurt the whole country's economy.
"When ships on the Great Lakes have to light-load, which means they're about 10 percent less cargo then they should have, they have to reduce their cargo because channels are not deep enough," Klobuchar (D-Minn.) explained. "Our whole economy suffers, not just the shippers, not just the people that are producing the goods."
The measure also gives the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers greater authority to deal with invasive species such as Asian carp.
(Copyright 2014 WDIO-TV, LLC . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Six Drug Overdoses in Past 24 Hours has Duluth Police Concerned
Duluth Police report there have been six drug related overdoses in the past 24 hours, and while there have been no deaths, they are concerned.
Esko Robotics Rookies Take on Regional Competition
The First Robotics Competition for high school students wrapped up at the DECC Saturday night, but while many veteran teams were taking on the challenge once again, one Northland team built and competed with its first robot ever...
Lake Superior Ice Show Goes Out With a Bang
It was the final weekend for the Lake Superior Ice Project Ice Show, and the community celebrated with a bang Saturday.
Local Families in Need Receive Free, Refurbished Cars
Three deserving families in Duluth got the keys to their very own set of wheels Saturday as recipients of Community Action Duluth's vehicle donation program. The vehicles were donated to the program, then refurbished by local Nappa AutoCare shops...
Minn. Man Charged with 59 Counts of Sexual Assault Arrested in Brazil
A Minnesota man wanted for 59 felony counts of criminal sexual assault from allegations that he abused young women while acting as their pastor was arrested in Brazil Friday.