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WIMS - Waste Information & Management Services, Inc. - WIMS
Innovative Environmental Information Services Since 1980

Special Report
 Great Lakes Restoration 

© 2005-2007. Permission is granted for Internal, Same-Office Distribution Only.

 

User Note:
This Special Report is being replaced by our new
Great Lakes Environment Blog
(click here)
This Special Report will remain posted for archive purposes.

(Updated September 11, 2007)

Note: Special Reports are updated periodically here; but are updated and reported on
daily in our WIMS Email services.

Click Here for details on WIMS Information Service Products 

Special Report

Great Lakes Restoration & Revitalization


Key Links

Other Significant Great Lakes Reports (excerpted from the Northeast-Midwest Institute Congressional briefing paper)


See WIMS Special Report on Great Lakes Water Management
for additional information on Great Lakes issues (click here).


Some Articles From WIMS Daily

Note: Some links below may become inactive over time.
 
Two Major Reports On Great Lakes Restoration Costs-Benefits - Sep 5, 2007: Access a release on the reports with links to extensive information (click here). Access an additional announcement on the reports (click here). Access the 16-page Healthy Waters, Strong Economy report (click here). Access the 86-page America’s North Coast report (click here). Access the conference website (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.1350 (click here). Access legislative details for S.791 (click here).

Comments On Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Review - May 14: Access the special review/comment website (click here). Access links to the GLWQA and the two volume draft Agreement Review Report (click here).

Groups Call For Moratorium On Ocean Vessel Traffic - Mar 20, 2007: Access a release (click here). Access the SaltFreeLakes website (click here). Access the GLU website for additional information (click here). Access the Healing Our Waters release (click here). Access the Healing Our Waters website for additional information (click here). Access legislative details for S.725 (click here).

Coastal Condition Report III Falls Short On Great Lakes - Mar 12, 2007: Access the Great Lakes chapter of the draft Report III (click here). Access the draft Report III website for specific commenting instructions and related information (click here). Access the State of the Great Lakes 2007 Draft Indicator Reports website (click here). Access the SOLEC website for previous reports and additional information (click here). Access the Chemical Integrity overview and link to the Virtual Library website (click here).

Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act Of 2007 - Mar 7, 2007: Access a release from Representative Ehlers (click here). Access a release from Senator Levin (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.1350 (click here). Access legislative details for S.791 (click here).

House Hearing On Great Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species
 -  Mar 7, 2007: Access the hearing website and links to extensive background information and witness testimony (click here).
 
Senator Levin Introduces Invasive Species Bills - Mar 1, 2007: Access a release from Senator Levin (click here). Access a detailed summary of S.725 (click here). Access legislative details for S.725 (click here). Access legislative details for S.726 (click here). Access a release from the GLC (click here). 

Groups Release Report On Future Great Lakes Agreement - Jan 19, 2007: Access the complete 65-page report (click here). Access the Great Lakes Forever website for additional information (click here); and the Alliance for the Great Lakes website (click here).

 
Members Introduce Asian Carp Barrier Bills - Jan 18, 2007: Access a joint release from the Members (click here). Access legislative details for H.R. 553 (click here). Access legislative details for S. 336 (click here). Access the Great Lakes Restoration website for related information (click here). Access a release from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (click here). Access a release from the Great Lakes Commission (click here).
 
"Appalling" Results Of Great Lakes Sewage Report Card - November 29, 2006: Click on the title to access an eNewsUSA Blog post with details and links to further information.
 
Webcast Of State Of The Lakes Ecosystem Conference - Oct 30, 2006: Access the draft agenda at the conference website (click here). Access the webcast site (click here). Access complete information and reports from SOLEC 2005 (click here). Access the Draft Indicator Reports website (click here). Access the Chemical Integrity overview and link to the Virtual Library website (click here). 

IJC Recommends New Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement - Oct 24, 2006: Access an IJC release (click here). Access the official transmittal letter for the report (click here). Access the 41-page report, Advice to Governments on their Review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: A Special Report to the Governments of Canada and the United States (click here). Access links to the complete Synthesis of Public Comment and executive summary (click here).

Court Orders EPA To Develop Ballast Water Discharge Regs - Sep 18, 2006. Click on the title for link to our Blog article.

House Hearing On Great Lakes Restoration Strategy - Sep 14, 2006. Click on the title for link to our Blog article.

First U.S. Great Lakes AOC Is Delisted - Jul 25: Access a lengthy release from EPA and link to further information on the site (click here). Access the Great Lakes AOC website (click here). 

Officials Celebrate Completion Of Ruddiman Creek Cleanup - May 15, 2006: Access a poste release from the Statewide Public Advisory Council for Michigan’s AOC Program(click here). Access the Ruddiman Creek cleanup website (click here). Access the SPAC website for additional information (click here). Access EPA's Great Lakes Legacy Act website (click here). Access EPA's Great Lakes Contaminated Sediments website (click here).

New Great Lakes Water Resources Regional Body To Meet - May 10, 2006: Access the draft agenda (click here). Access further information on the Agreement and the Regional Body (click here).


Updated Great Lakes Lakewide Management Plans Released - May 1, 2006:  Access links to each of the LaMPs (click here).

Rule Provides Policy For Great Lakes Legacy Act - Apr 25, 2006: Access a release (click here). Access the FR announcement (click here). Access EPA's Great Lakes Legacy Act website (click here). Access EPA's Great Lakes Contaminated Sediments website (click here).

Great Lakes Commission Annual Report - Apr 11, 2006: Access links to the 2005 report and previous reports (click here).

Great Lakes Collaboration Strategy Bills - Apr 5, 2006: Access a release from Representative Ehlers (click here). Access a detailed, 3-page summary of the bill (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.5100 (click here); and S.2545 (click here).


Legislators Introduce Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act
- Apr 5, 2006: Access a release from Senator Levin that summarizes key provisions (click here). Access the CGLG release (click here). Access a release from the Coalition (click here).

Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy Testimony Available - Mar 16, 2006: Access links to all testimony and statements (click here).

Great Lakes Commission Presses For Funding - Feb 15, 2006: Access a release (click here). Access the legislative priorities document (click here). Access a release and further details on the 2006 Great Lakes Day (click here).

Coalition Disappointed In Great Lakes Funding; Will Press Congress - Feb 9, 2006: Access a posted release from the Coalition (click here, unfortunately there was an error in posting this message. we have notified the parties and hopefully it will be corrected). Access the Coalition website (click here).   

Collaboration Strategy Produces Only Modest Commitments -Dec 12, 2005: U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson joined other Federal, state, local and tribal officials at an event today in Chicago to unveil the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy that will serve as a blueprint for prioritizing future actions to restore and enhance the lakes. The Administrator also committed to specific actions among federal agencies to accelerate cleanup of contaminated sediment, return another 200,000 acres of wetlands to ecological health in equal partnership with the states, reduce the spread of invasive species and make beaches cleaner. Johnson reiterated recent Agency announcements under the Great Lakes Legacy Act and said EPA will work with Congress to ensure that the interim barrier halting the advance of Asian Carp to the Great Lakes system is made permanent. 
    EPA also said it will work with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite projects to restore wetlands and aquatic habitat. The effort includes streamlining the wetlands permit process specifically for restoration and water quality projects in the Great Lakes basin. EPA and the states will also take action to restore another 200,000 acres of wetlands in the basin. The Agency said it would also supplement and bolster beach monitoring and notification programs in lakeside communities. EPA proposes a three-year, three-step effort to perform watershed-based sanitary surveys in Great Lakes recreational waters to help identify sources of pollution. Surveys will be done in 2006 and the first pilot projects should begin in the Great Lakes basin in 2007.

    Over the past year, more than 1,500 people from throughout the Great Lakes basin participated on eight strategy teams to develop the recommendations that form the basis of the strategy. Summit I was held in December 2004 in Chicago with conveners representing the federal government and Great Lakes states, cities, tribes and public interest groups as well as the region's congressional delegation. At the Summit II meeting today, representatives from the collaboration signed a resolution formally adopting the strategy and committing to continue to work together. The final strategy is in large part a disappointment for many involved in the effort that at one point had hoped for a $20 billion commitment to a major Great Lakes Restoration efforts. On October 28, 2005, the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force (GLIATF), the group of Federal agencies involved in Great Lakes programs, issued a report saying the "Federal government strongly believes that the strategy should focus on what can be accomplished within current budget projections."
    Access a release (click here). Access the Collaboration website for the final strategy and related information (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here). [*GLakes] 

Great Lakes May Be Reaching Critical Tipping Point - Dec 9, 2005: The immune system of the Great Lakes is breaking down and the ecosystem is in danger of collapse, according to a new report released by the region’s leading scientists. The report underscores the urgent need for comprehensive restoration to repair the “immune system” of the Great Lakes, and to reverse a pattern of decline that threatens to affect drinking water, swimming, fishing, tourism and other benefits derived from the largest body of fresh water in the world. The paper reports that the Great Lakes buffering capacity, or immune system, is breaking down, rendering ineffective the self-regulating system of the lakes to protect themselves and recover from new stresses like pollution and invasive species. The report states, “If not addressed with great urgency, the Great Lakes system may experience further -- and potentially irreversible -- damage.” To date approximately 60 scientists, including the region's Sea Grant directors, have endorsed the paper, Prescription for Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Avoiding the Tipping Point of Irreversible Changes, and its recommendations.
    Alfred Beeton, Ph.D., one of the lead authors and former director of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory said, “This report serves as a warning. The Great Lakes are deteriorating at a rate unprecedented in their recorded history and are nearing the tipping point of ecosystem-wide breakdown. If we want to restore this resource, it is time to act now.” Don Scavia, Ph.D., another lead author and Professor of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan said, “As alarming as this diagnosis may be, the solution is relatively straightforward and achievable if we act now. To restore the Great Lakes, we need to start treating the lakes holistically, and not just as a series of isolated problems to be solved one at a time.”

    The report comes as President Bush and the Environmental Protection Agency prepare to release on December 12 a plan to restore the Great Lakes, as part of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, a year-long process established by President Bush to develop a blueprint for restoring the Great Lakes. U.S. EPA has issued a media advisory indicating that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson will join other Federal, state, local and tribal officials to unveil the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy at Summit II in Chicago on Monday, December 12. EPA said representatives from the Collaboration will speak and then sign a resolution.
    Access a release posted on the Restore the Lakes website (click here). Access the 28-page paper (click here). Access the Restore the Lakes website (click here). Access EPA's media advisory (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here). [*GLakes] 

Congressional Members React To Feds Collaboration Funding -  Nov 4: In response to the October 28, report sent to the White House by the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force (GLIATF) on activities related to the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC), the Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMW) reports that more than 30 House and Senate members have written to President Bush raising concerns over the recent administration report and saying that "a serious consideration of the challenges faced in the Great Lakes region requires a commitment of federal resources," and it urged the President not to limit the Regional Collaboration by restricting restoration recommendations to current spending for the Great Lakes. Among other recommendations, the GLIATF said in its October 28 Task Force report [See WIMS 10/28/05], "The Federal government strongly believes that the strategy should focus on what can be accomplished within current budget projections..."  
    The Congressional reaction to the Task Force report is similar to other reactions from groups, organizations and governments. On November 1, the Governors of Ohio and Wisconsin, the co-Chairs of the Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG), and the Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative wrote President Bush requesting his intervention to salvage some of the initiatives and funding expectations contained in the Collaboration Strategy which is now being finalized and is scheduled for release on December 12, 2005. Original new funding expectations were as high as $20 billion however, the officials indicated they hoped that at least $4-6 billion over five to ten years, an amount contained in previous restoration bills, could be salvaged [See WIMS 11/02/05].

    Access further information from NEMW from Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force, Email: (click here); or Phone: 202- 224-1211. Access the complete government officials letter posted on the WIMS/EcoBizPort website (click here). Access the Task Force report to the President Executive Summary and complete report (click here). Access the GLIATF website (click here). Access the GLRC website for further information (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here). [*GLakes]

Officials Request Bush To Intervene On Collaboration Strategy - Nov 1: The Governors of Ohio and Wisconsin, the co-Chairs of the Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG), and the Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative have written President Bush requesting his intervention to salvage some of the initiatives and funding expectations contained in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy which is now being finalized and is scheduled for release on December 12, 2005. The Great Lakes officials are requesting the President to call for a meeting of Federal staff and Great Lakes officials to devise a consensus strategy to protect and restore the Great Lakes. The action follows an announcement on October 28 that the Federal Interagency Task Force (the Federal staff involved in the Collaboration Strategy) could not support major funding increases for the Strategy -- which was expected to be around $20 billion [See WIMS 10/28/05].
    In their November 1, 2005, letter the officials said, "...
we are deeply disappointed in the report issued on October 28 by the Federal Interagency Task Force, suggesting that restoration be undertaken within current spending levels. We share the goal of accomplishing greater results with existing resources... It is critical that we acknowledge that, even if all of its recommendations cannot be fully implemented immediately, the strategy will guide our efforts in coming years so that we can focus on implementation rather than on further planning. Specifically, we are asking the Administration to join us in supporting the following elements related to the final plan..."
    The two major elements identified were: Immediate action on those consensus recommendations contained in the

Collaboration’s report that involve minimal or no new resources such as Administration support for new ballast water discharge performance standards... Secondly, the officials suggested a commitment to increase federal funding in the FY2007 budget for substantial new funding in the amount of at least $4-6 billion over five to ten years as contained in previous restoration bills.
    The officials said, "
We would like to request a meeting between your staff and ours to discuss these key issues and how they can be addressed as part of a consensus strategy to protect and restore the Great Lakes... we ask that this meeting be scheduled as soon as possible."
    Access the complete letter posted on the WIMS/EcoBizPort website (click here). Access an EPA release (click here). Access the Task Force report to the President Executive Summary and complete report (click here). Access the GLIATF website (click here). Access the GLRC website for further information (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here). [*GLakes]

Great Lakes Interagency Task Force Report - Oct 28: U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson signed and sent to the White House the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force (GLIATF) report highlighting activities accomplished by the task force since its creation by President Bush in May 2004. The report details task force successes including the construction of the dispersal barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to help prevent the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species into the Great Lakes, and implementation of the Great Lakes Legacy Act to accelerate remediation of contaminated sediments in the lakes. The report also outlines the Task Force's involvement in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) and that partnership's efforts to develop a strategy for protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. 
    In addition, the report provides an inventory of Federal programs and resources that demonstrate the broad scope of the Federal government's involvement in the Great Lakes region. The task force, under the lead of EPA, brings together 10 agency and Cabinet officers to provide strategic direction on Federal Great Lakes policy, priorities and programs. The 10 agencies together administer more than 140 different federal programs that help fund and implement environmental restoration and management activities in the Great Lakes basin.

    On the subject of the GLRC the Task Force deals a serious blow to the Collaboration's efforts to secure major new funding for Great Lakes restoration. The GLRC was launched in December of 2004 after considerable outreach and discussion with Great Lakes governmental partners at the state, local and tribal levels, key Great Lakes organizations, and stakeholders. The GLRC is governed by an Executive Committee that oversees the effort to develop a strategic plan for improving the Great Lakes ecosystem.
    According to the Task Force report, "The Federal government strongly believes that the strategy should focus on what can be accomplished within current budget projections. All levels of government provide substantial resources to the Great Lakes. For instance, the Federal government alone expects to provide approximately $5 billion over the next ten years to Great Lakes water quality activities. The scope of the strategic plan should focus on prioritizing and coordinating these substantial resources across all of the Collaboration partners. The expected Federal funds, coordinated with more than $100 million provided annually by numerous State, local, and tribal government Great Lakes programs, will make measurable progress in protecting and restoring the region's ecosystems.
    "The current draft of the GLRC’s strategic plan, released on July 7, 2005, does not take into account the ongoing Federal, state, tribal, and local investments in the Great Lakes and how to focus those substantial resources to maximize results. Instead, the GLRC proposed to rely almost entirely on new Federal funding, totaling approximately $3 billion annually, along with new legislation and programs to address identified problems.
    "The members of the Interagency Task Force have serious concerns with the direction of the GLRC's draft strategy, and strongly urge the GLRC to focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of existing programs, based on likely spending levels and shared responsibilities. At this time, the GLIATF does not endorse the draft, but will work to improve it. The IATF is hopeful that, over the coming weeks, it can reach agreement with its GLRC partners on a shared strategic direction for Great Lakes restoration. This effort will help guide restoration activities at all levels of government and by the private sector over the coming years, and provide an important tool for the Administration and Congress to use to weigh competing priorities within the Federal budget."
    Access an EPA release (click here). Access the Task Force report to the President Executive Summary and complete report (
click here). Access the GLIATF website (click here). Access the GLRC website for further information (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here). [*GLakes]

Draft Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Report Released - Jul 7: U.S. EPA released the draft report of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration and invited the public to invited to submit comments on the draft report until September 9, 2005. The strategy is an action plan to address environmental problems in eight critical areas. In December 2004, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration was formed as a result of an executive order signed by President Bush. It is a partnership of the federal government, states, tribes, local governments and other interested parties to work on Great Lakes environmental and natural resource issues. The strategic plan is intended to build upon the extensive regional efforts to date, working together toward a common goal of restoring and protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem for this and future generations. An Executive Committee made up of senior elected and appointed officials from different levels of government has helped guide the GLRC over the past year as the strategic plan has been developed. Eight Strategy Teams, each focusing on a different issue affecting the Great Lakes basin, began work in January 2005 to develop recommendations for action. The focus areas included: Invasive Species; Habitat/Species; Coastal Health; Areas of Concern (AOC) Restoration/Sediments; Nonpoint Source; Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxics (PBT) Reduction; Indicators and Information; and Sustainable Development. 
    The draft strategy still must be endorsed by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration members. Following a 60-day public comment period, including five town-hall style meetings, the collaboration's leadership will consider the draft recommendations and public comments as they develop a final strategy for approval by the collaboration membership. The final strategy is due to be released in Chicago in December 2005.
    Access an EPA Region 5 release (click here). Access the GLRC report website for links to the report, comment procedures and meeting details (click here). Access the overall Collaboration website for additional information and background (click here). [*GLakes]


 
Coalition Says Funding Critical To Collaboration Plan - Jul 7: A national and regional coalition of restoration-minded environmental and conservation groups issued a statement and warned that the Collaboration plan from President Bush’s Great Lakes task force would languish without sufficient funding from the administration, Congress, and state governments. Tom Kiernan, president of the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association and co-chair of the Healing Our Waters (HOW) Great Lakes Coalition said, “This plan is a good first step toward comprehensive restoration of the Great Lakes. But it is only one step, and it will go nowhere unless it leads to state and federal funding, and inspires better government policies that enable Americans to once again safely enjoy our Great Lakes.” The groups said the total 5-year price-tag for the plan is approximately $20 billion, with $13.6 billion from federal sources and the remainder from state and local budgets. Andy Buchsbaum, director of National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office, and co-chair of the HOW Great Lakes Coalition said, “If it is funded, the Collaboration’s draft plan will make critical progress toward our goal of restoring balance to the Great Lakes. Cleaning up raw sewage and toxic hotspots, and restoring habitat is not cheap, but there’s no alternative: Our economy, our environment, and our way of life depend on it.”  Legislation pending in Congress calls for $4 billion to $6 billion to restore the Great Lakes. Access a release from the HOW Coalition (click here). [*Glakes]

Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes coalition Launched - Apr 27, 2005: A day before Federal, state, local, and tribal leaders are joined by civic, business and conservation leaders in Traverse City to craft a comprehensive Great Lakes restoration plan as part of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, over 50 national, state and local conservation organizations announced the formation of a Great Lakes restoration coalition aimed at securing a sustainable restoration plan and obtaining the billions of dollars needed to implement it. The drive for the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes coalition began in May 2004, at the Great Lakes Healing Our Waters conference, sponsored by Peter M. Wege and the Wege Foundation at Steelcase University in Grand Rapids, Michgan. Following that meeting, Wege and his foundation pledged $5 million over five years to the National Wildlife Federation and National Parks Conservation Association to lead a broad coalition to make Great Lakes restoration a reality. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) are heading the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes coalition, which seeks to protect and restore the Great Lakes by addressing such issues as reclaiming sensitive coastal wetlands and other critical habitat, stopping the introduction of invasive species, eliminating toxic pollution that contaminates fish, reducing polluted runoff, ending beach closings, and cleaning up contaminated sediments.
    The coalition includes 55 national, regional, state and local organizations that seek to inspire federal and state initiatives to protect and improve the health of the Great Lakes. The coalition, led by NWF and NPCA, will be guided by a steering committee comprised of regional and national organizations and two state organizations. Steering committee members include representatives from Alliance for the Great Lakes (formerly the Lake Michigan Federation), American Rivers, Ducks Unlimited, Great Lakes United, The Nature Conservancy, Ohio Environmental Council, Sierra Club, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Trout Unlimited, University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. Coalition and steering committee members are deeply involved in the Great Lakes restoration planning meetings convened by U.S. EPA in Traverse City this week. These organizations are available to provide updates on the different issue areas being addressed by the planning process. Access a posted release (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here). [*GLakes]



Great Lakes Restoration Update
- Apr 14, 2005: Congressional and civic leaders announced a new push for a massive Great Lakes restoration package in the U.S. Congress, starting with the introduction of two bills. As announced by the Alliance for the Great Lakes (formerly the
Lake Michigan Federation)
the Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act of 2005 (S. 508) was introduced by U.S. Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Companion legislation was introduced in the
House (H.R. 792), by U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) of Chicago. The two bills would provide billions of dollars in block grants to states. Legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Vern Ehlers (R-MI) would provide funding for key programs. All would reduce sewage overflows and protect beaches, protect the health of fisheries, recover coastal wetlands and other forms of habitat, and iother restoration work.
    Also the Great Lakes Commission released the results of a series of stakeholder workshops gathering public input on how to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The report, A Blueprint for the Future: Toward a Great Lakes Restoration Strategy, summarizes the opinions and suggestions of more than 700 stakeholders who participated in a series of eight workshops hosted throughout the Great Lakes states. Held from September 2003 to August 2004, the workshops invited participants to react to a series of restoration priorities developed by the Council of Great Lakes Governors and offer their thoughts on putting them into action.
    Access a release from the Alliance for the Great Lakes (click here). Access a release from the GLC with links to the report (click here). Access legislative details for H.R. 792 (click here). Access legislative details for S. 508 (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here). [*GLakes]

Parties Sign Great Lakes Declaration & Framework - Dec 3, 2004: In an unprecedented display of intergovernmental and multi-state collaboration, dozens of government officials and tribal representatives signed a Great Lakes Declaration and a framework document for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration to restore and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. Officials in attendance included members of President Bush’s cabinet and senior staff, United States senators and congressmen, Great Lakes governors, Tribes, mayors, state senators and representatives. Mike Leavitt, U.S. EPA Administrator said, “This is the largest formal collaboration of its kind focused on the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes Basin. Today, we are committing our collective organizations to protecting and improving this national treasure.” The signers of the Great Lakes Declaration pledged to collaboratively work together toward a common goal of protecting, restoring and improving the Great Lakes ecosystem in order to address the new and continuing challenges and ensure a healthy ecosystem for future generations. The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Framework establishes strategy teams, made up of government, quasi-government and other regional stakeholders, as the working bodies responsible for drafting action plans that will be used for the draft Great Lakes strategy. The teams will use the nine priorities identified in October 2003 by the Great Lakes Governors and since adopted by the Great Lakes Mayors and ratified by the Great Lakes Commission as their organizational foundation. This strategy will be presented to the members of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration for resolution of final issues and adoption at Summit I, scheduled for the summer of 2005. In May 2004, President Bush signed Executive Order 13340 creating a Cabinet-level Task Force to accelerate the coordination for protection and restoration of the Great Lakes system.

     On December 2, Chicago Public Radio conducted a discussion with three individuals on the importance of the Great Lakes Declaration meeting. Participating in the discussion were Dave Dempsey, Great Lakes Policy Advisor, Clean Water Action; Gary Gulezian, Director, Great Lakes National Program Office, U.S. EPA; and David Ullrich, Director, Great Lakes Cities Initiative. The 25 minute audio from the discussion is available from the link below.
    Access a release (click here). Access additional information about the meeting, the Great Lakes Declaration and the framework document (click here). Access the Chicago Public Radio discussion (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here).

Granholm To Attend Lakes Restoration Meeting - Dec 3: Governor Jennifer Granholm will meet with the governors of other Great Lakes states, as well as Federal, local, tribal, and non-governmental leaders, on December 3, 2004, to declare support for a regional collaborative effort to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration conveners are meeting in Chicago. The conveners meeting will provide an opportunity for states, municipalities, tribes, and non-governmental leaders to declare support for a process to better organize existing Great Lakes protection and restoration programs.  It also will identify short and long-term restoration needs for action by governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. Granholm said she was pleased that after significant lobbying by the Great Lakes governors, Congress last month provided $2 million for the completion of Asian carp barriers in the Chicago River. However, she expressed concern about recent Federal funding decisions, including a cut in the federal Clean Water State Revolving Loan (SRF) funding that will cost states in the Great Lakes region as much as $88 million to stop sewer overflows. She said, "America’s Great Lakes deserve at least as much help from Washington as the Everglades and the Chesapeake Bay.” The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration conveners meeting has been organized by U.S.EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt in response to a Presidential directive earlier this year to provide improved strategic direction on federal Great Lakes policies and programs and to encourage greater cooperation with the Great Lakes states and other organizations concerned about the future of the Great Lakes basin. The Federal collaboration effort will organize its future deliberations using eight of the nine restoration priorities issued last year by Granholm and the other Great Lakes state governors.  The first priority listed by the governors, addressing water use and diversion issues, is being addressed in a separate process to implement the Great Lakes Charter Annex of 2001. Those priorities include pollution control, stopping and controlling exotic aquatic invasive species, and restoration of wetlands and coastal habitats. Access a release (click here). Access a complete listing of the Great Lakes Governor's priorities (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here).


Government Officials & Tribal Leaders To Sign Great Lakes Declaration - Nov 23: According to an announcement from U.S. EPA, Dozens of government officials and Tribal representatives will convene in Chicago on December 3, 2004, to sign a Great Lakes Declaration and a framework document for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration. Officials in attendance will include members of President Bush’s cabinet, United States senators and congressmen, state senators and representatives, and Great Lakes governors, Tribes, and mayors. The Great Lakes Declaration is an intergovernmental pledge of support for the development of a strategy to further protect and restore the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration process. The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Framework Document outlines the process for developing a Great Lakes restoration and protection strategy. EPA said confirmed Attendees Include: EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt, Secretary Tom Ridge, Jim Connaughton, Governor George Pataki, Governor Jim Doyle, Governor Bob Taft, Governor Rod Blagojevich, Senator Richard Durbin, Congressman Vernon Ehlers, Congresswoman Judy Biggert, Congressman Mark Kirk, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, Frank Ettawageshik, Chairman, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and fifteen other Tribal leaders, Mayor Richard Daley (Chicago, Ill.), Mayor Scott King (Gary, Ind.) Mayor Jerry Irby (Marquette, Mich.), Mayor George Heartwell (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Mayor Herb Bergson (Duluth, Mich.), Mayor Jack Ford (Toledo, Ohio), Mayor Richard E. Filippi (Erie, Pa.), Mayor Tom Barrett (Milwaukee, Wis.), Mayor Gary Becker (Racine, Wis.), Mayor Dave Ross (Superior, Wis.), and others. Additional Invitees Include: Other cabinet members, Great Lakes governors, United States senators and representatives, Tribal leaders, and mayors. 

    In a related matter, on November 23, some 75 Indian Tribes gathered in Sault Ste. Marie, Michgian to discuss what they called a Tribal and First Nation Great Lakes Water Accord. The Tribes are saying they need more than just "appropriate consultation" in the decision making on the Great Lakes Charter Annex 2001 Implementing Agreements which is being considered by eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces [See our 11/23/04 report]. Access the announcement (click here). Access the latest media coverage of the November 23 Tribal meeting (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here).

Wege Commits $5 Million To Great Lakes Restoration - Oct 14: Peter M. Wege and the Wege Foundation announced a $5 million, five-year grant launching a Great Lakes Coalition to build public support nationally to restore America's greatest freshwater resource, the Great Lakes. The commitment, among the largest private foundation grants ever for Great Lakes protection, will focus on implementing the recommendations and agenda from the "Healing Our Waters" summit of May 2004 and the summit report released in September [See our September 20 report], which set forth an agenda for Federal government action and funding to restore the Great Lakes. Foundation President Wege said, "The Healing Our Waters agenda is the Magna Carta for Great Lakes restoration. The mission of the Great Lakes Coalition will be to turn this agenda into real policies that will restore our Great Lakes." The Great Lakes Coalition will be a broad-based network of national, regional and state organizations dedicated to Great Lakes restoration. It will include a technical advisory committee comprised of scientists, business leaders, economists and other experts. The Coalition will be organized by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) of Washington, DC, which will serve as national fiscal agent for the grant, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), which will serve as regional fiscal agent through NWF's Great Lakes Natural Resources Center based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Access a release announcing the grant (click here; and on Dave's Blog for discussion click here). Access the complete Healing Our Waters report or individual sections (click here). Access a list of the participants who drafted the Agenda (click here). Access the Healing Our Waters website (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here).


Black Lagoon To Be First Legacy Act Cleanup - Sep 27: The Black Lagoon on the Detroit River in Trenton will be the first contaminated sediment site to be cleaned up under the Great Lakes Legacy Act. U.S. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt announced the joint project with Larry Arreguin of Governor Jennifer Granholm's Southeast Michigan office. Site preparation begins this week and the dredging will begin in mid-October. The project will be completed using $4.2 million in Legacy Act funds and $2.3 million from the Clean Michigan Initiative. Contaminated sediment in the lagoon is a source of pollution to the Detroit River and ultimately Lake Erie. EPA and MDEQ will remove approximately 90,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with mercury, PCBs, oil and grease, lead and zinc from the bottom of the lagoon. The cleanup is expected to be completed by mid-January. Once the sediment is removed, it will be disposed of in the Pointe Mouillee Confined Disposal Facility. The bottom of the lagoon will then be covered with sand and rock. The city of Trenton plans to redevelop the area including construction of a marina. The Great Lakes Legacy Act passed in 2002. The Act authorizes $270 million in funding over five years, beginning this year, to assist with the remediation of contaminated sediment in "areas of concern," toxic hot spots around the Great Lakes. Access an EPA Region 5 release (click here). Access more information on the Detroit River Area of Concern (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further background information (click here).



Bold Agenda for Great Lakes Restoration
- Sep 16: A new report released by the Wege Foundation containing specific recommendations developed through a series of online discussions and a May 2004 conference at Steelcase University in Grand Rapids, Michigan calls on the Federal government to lead a coordinated effort to restore the Great Lakes. The report, Healing Our Waters: An Agenda for Great Lakes Restoration reports on the recommendations of nearly 100 scientists, environmental and conservation leaders, business and foundation professionals and educators from throughout the U.S. and Ontario. The restoration agenda outlined in the report calls for $20 billion in new Federal funding, to be managed in partnership with $10 billion from the Great Lakes basin states, to reduce pollution, prevent harm from invasive aquatic species, remove failing dams, upgrade sewage infrastructure, improve monitoring and evaluation, encourage use of renewable energy sources, and expand wetlands habitat. The report also calls on the Federal government to reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent by 2007 and for federal funding and leadership to clean up and restore the 31 toxic “Areas of Concern” identified by the U.S. government 17 years ago. The report is being distributed to all members of Congress and a broad list of Federal officials, policy makers and environmental experts and is available on the Internet. The Wege Foundation and the groups involved in the report have also launched a major advertising campaign promoting the report. Commenting on the report, U.S. Representative Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI) said, “There are already federally supported, regional efforts to restore the Florida Everglades, the Chesapeake Bay and the Louisiana coastal region. These programs are sustained because a strong coalition of committed individuals and organizations rallies to support them. Hopefully, this report will spark a similar effort across America supporting the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes.” As part of the advertising campaign, on September 16, a full-page ad appeared in major daily newspapers throughout Michigan, including: the Ann Arbor News, the Bay City Times, The Flint Journal, The Grand Rapids Press, the Jackson Citizen Patriot, the Kalamazoo Gazette, The Muskegon Chronicle and the Saginaw News. The ad also ran in the Lansing State Journal, as well as in Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill. Founded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968, the Wege Foundation supports vital environmental, educational, health care and community development programs on a local, national and international level. Access a release (click here). Access the complete report or individual sections (click here). Access a list of the participants who drafted the Agenda (click here). Access the Healing Our Waters website (click here).

Great Lakes Interagency Task Force Announced - May 18: U.S. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt, Ohio Governor Bob Taft, Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Chair of the Great Lakes Cities Initiative met in Chicago to announce the coordination and regional collaboration on Great Lakes programs. As part of the effort, President Bush signed an Executive Order creating the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force and stating "The Great Lakes are a national treasure constituting the largest freshwater system in the world." The Task Force, under the lead of U.S. EPA, brings together ten Agency and Cabinet officers to provide strategic direction on federal Great Lakes policy, priorities and programs. The ten agencies together administer more than 140 different Federal programs that help fund and implement environmental restoration and management activities in the Great Lakes basin. The Executive Order calls for the development of outcome-based goals such as cleaner water, sustainable fisheries, and system biodiversity and calls on the Task Force to ensure federal efforts target measurable results. At the same time, the President instructed Administrator Leavitt to engage Ohio Governor Bob Taft and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to convene a complementary process of regional collaboration. Contacts: Access a White House announcement and the Executive Order text (click here). Access a brief statement from the President (click here). Access an EPA release (click here). Access the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force website (click here). Access EPA's Great Lakes website for links to extensive resources including the Great Lakes National Program Office (click here). Access a joint release from the Lake Michigan Federation, Great Lakes United, and the National Wildlife Federation (click here). Access links to the latest media coverage (click here).


House Hearings On Great Lakes Restoration - May 17: The House Transportation Committee, Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment will conduct two days of Congressional hearings with Federal and state officials testifying on the progress of efforts to restore the Great Lakes water quality on May 20 and 21. The Subcommittee hearings, chaired by  Representative John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), are both scheduled to begin at 10 AM.  Live audio and video broadcasts of the hearings will be available that the Committee’s website (See below). The hearings will pay particular attention to a 2003 report by the General Accounting Office, requested by the Great Lakes Task Forces, that recommends improved coordination among the various Federal programs addressing Great Lakes environmental quality. Scheduled testimony includes representatives from the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office, Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, USDA, Fish and Wildlife Service, Council of Great Lakes of Governors, International Joint Commission, Water Resources Institute of Grand Valley State University, General Accounting Office and various Representatives from Great Lakes states. In total, there are 33 Federal programs specific to the Great Lakes, and there are another 115 Federal programs that are nationwide in scope that can be used to support environmental restoration activities in the Great Lakes basin. According to a Committee announcement over 33 million people live in the Great Lakes Basin, representing one-tenth of the U.S. population and one quarter of the Canadian population.  The Great Lakes constitute the largest system of fresh, surface water on Earth: holding 18 percent of the world’s surface water supply and 95 percent of the U.S. surface water supply. Access the Committee hearing announcement (click here). Access the Subcommittee website for links to the hearings testimony and webcast when they become available (click here); or the Committee website (click here).


Governors Make Detailed Great Lakes Funding Requests - May 14: The Council of Great Lakes Governors have written a letter to the Chairman and Ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees requesting immediate support for Great Lakes restoration and protection efforts. The Governors' say, "On October 1, 2003, we the Great Lakes Governors outlined nine Great Lakes restoration and protection priorities to guide Great Lakes restoration and protection efforts. To meet these priorities, we believe that it is important for the U.S. Congress to provide immediate support for important activities in addition to large scale, long-term funding. We continue to work with the region’s Mayors toward this end. As the Governors of our nation’s Great Lakes States, we continue to support large scale, long-term funding programs to be implemented by the States. These programs will be essential to the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes. In addition to our continued support for the important principle of large scale, state-implemented restoration and protection funding, we urge the following appropriations in fiscal year 2005 to advance each of the priorities for Great Lakes restoration and protection that were outlined in our October 1 letter." The letter outlines request for $5 million for three-dimensional geologic models of glacial materials; prioritization of $1.4 billion in national funding to address combined sewer overflows in the Great Lakes region; continuation of CWA diffuse sources $60 million for the Great Lakes States; $1.6 million for a pollutant minimization incentive program for industries and municipalities; continuation of National Aquatic Invasive Species Act (NAISA) funding, plus $4.2 million sea lamprey controls, a $1.8 million increase for FWS state management plans, and $8 million to make permanent the existing barrier in the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal; reauthorization of $35.6 million Great Lakes Coastal Restoration Program; $66.1 million for Areas of Concern (AOCs); $7 million for standardized indicators development; and $2 million of already authorized Beach Act funding allowing administration costs to be appliend to local matches. Access the 4-page letter for complete details (click here).


Sierra Club Calls Bush Great Lakes Efforts A Smokescreen - May 18: The  Sierra Club's Great Lakes Program issued a statement following the announcement by the Bush Administration on the new Great Lakes Interagency Task Force announced on May 18. Sierra Club said, "The Bush administration's Great Lakes Task Force is a smokescreen and does nothing to clean up, protect, or restore the Great Lakes. And, unfortunately, this could put off any meaningful efforts for clean up. While it's nice for the Bush administration to talk about cleaning up the Great Lakes, other recent Bush administration policies are making it impossible to realize the goals of Great Lakes protection and restoration." The group cited "delays cleaning up toxic mercury pollution;" "blocked rules that would have protected our families and communities from raw, untreated sewage;" "a policy directive making it more difficult to protect wetlands and headwater streams;" and refusal to "support the 'polluter pays'" principle. The Lake Michigan Federation, Great Lakes United, and the National Wildlife Federation issued a joint release that "applauded President Bush's decision today to proclaim the Great Lakes as a 'National Treasure,' and the appointment of a high level Task Force to develop a restoration plan for the Lakes." However, the groups said, "We hope the new 'working group' established by the President's executive order includes Canada's federal and provincial governments, the regions' Tribes, and basin cities and citizens groups. The Great Lakes ecosystem cannot be protected and restored without all the concerned parties involved." Access the Sierra Club posted release (click here). Access the joint release from other groups (click here). Access the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force website for complete detials on the Administration's efforts  (click here).


Workshops On Great Lakes Restoration Priorities - Feb 16, 2004: The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) is sponsoring a series of workshops throughout the Great Lakes states to solicit public input on the development and implementation of priorities for ecosystem restoration. The initiative is funded by the National Sea Grant Program and each workshop features a partnership between the state's Sea Grant Program, governor's office, relevant state agencies and the Great Lakes Commission. Participants will have an opportunity to review and discuss restoration priorities developed by the Council of Great Lakes Governors, and share additional thoughts and ideas relevant to their jurisdiction and the entire region. Workshop[ outcomes will be captures in proceedings documents and shared with Great Lakes leadership and the entire community of stakeholders in the interest of promoting consensus and unity of purpose in restoration and protection initiatives. Details on individual workshops are provided on the GLC website below. Workshops are planned for: Parma, OH (Feb. 24); Erie, PA (Feb. 25); and Rochester, NY (Apr. 27). A previous workshop was held in Ann Arbor, MI on Sep. 17, 2003.  Access the details on each workshop and links to additional information (click here). Access the WIMS/EcoBizPort Special Report on Great Lakes Restoration issues for further information (click here).


Great Lakes Restoration Priorities Input - Jan 26: To coalesce protection and restoration activities, the Governors of the eight Great Lakes states released nine priorities for the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes on October 1, 2003. The nine priorities intended to guide development of restoration strategies and focus discussions on the need for financial support of restoration programs. The Governors, through the Council of Great Lakes Governors Chaired by Governor Taft of Ohio and in association with the Great Lakes Commission and Sea Grant, are seeking public input on these nine priorities. Particularly valuable will be ideas for strategies to implement the priorities, suggestions as to which priorities might represent the most urgent needs, information regarding ongoing restoration programs that could be linked to these priorities, and input regarding the plans and priorities of Great Lakes constituencies that can inform and elaborate upon the Governors’ priorities. A series of public meetings is being held to solicit input in each of the Great Lakes states. Comments will be used by the Governors to inform protection and restoration strategies, and to support passage of Great Lakes Restoration legislation in Congress, including S. 1398, the Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act, and H.R. 2720, the Great Lakes Restoration Financing Act, currently pending. A summary of the proceedings will be available on the Great Lakes Commission web site The State of Ohio has announced a meeting to receive input on the Priorities on February 24, 2004, from 2-6 PM at the Cuyahoga Community College, in Parma, OH (see details below). Ohio Sea Grant will use the results in the development of their 2006-10 strategic plan for research, education and outreach on Lake Erie. A Michigan meeting was held last fall. Workshops in other Great Lakes states are in the planning stage. Access the CGLG Great Lakes Priorities Initiative website (click here). Access the Parma, OH meeting announcement (click here). Access the proceedings of the Michigan meeting (click here).


Granholm Unveils Water Plan - Jan 20: According to a release, Governor Granholm today sent a special message to the Michigan Legislature in which she unveiled a comprehensive plan to protect Michigan’s great, fresh waters. The release indicates that the action is "out of a sense of urgency to protect a key element of Michigan’s legacy -- its water."  The cornerstone of the Granholm initiative is the Michigan Water Legacy Act, a comprehensive water withdrawal statute based on the principles of the Great Lakes Charter, which will subject all significant water withdrawals to review by MDEQ to ensure that Michigan’s water resources are not impaired or compromised. Granholm’s comprehensive water initiative addresses the major concerns facing the Great Lakes today:  water withdrawal, invasive species, open water disposal, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), revised sanitary code, wetlands protection, and securing federal funding for Great Lakes restoration projects. In addition to the proposed Water Legacy Act that will be delivered to State lawmakers in February, the initiative includes administrative steps that the Granholm Administration will immediately implement to protect Michigan waters. Those steps include an Executive Directive signed today (January 20) by the Governor that prohibits State agencies from approving the open water disposal of contaminated dredge materials in Michigan waters; and, a second Executive Directive to be signed later this month that asks MDEQ to protect critical isolated wetlands on State land from harm. Further, the Governor will ask the Attorney General to join a number of environmental and conservation groups in a lawsuit against U.S. EPA to compel them to regulate ballast water discharges, and ask State lawmakers to live up to the 2004 budget agreement by approving user fees to fund the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, a critical component in monitoring what goes into our water. Finally, the Granholm Administration will ask the Bush Administration to fund the first installment of a multi-year Great Lakes restoration effort. Access a release (click here). Access the Executive Directive(s) (click here, posted soon). Access the 8-page message to the Legislature (click here).


Great Lakes Restoration Field Hearing - Aug 25: The full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a field hearing at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, OH to examine the current and future efforts to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Major restoration bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that would provide $600 to $800 million per year for the next 5-10 years to achieve that goal. Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) hosted the meeting and indicated that he had recently cosponsored the Great Lakes Environmental Restoration, Protection, and Recovery Act (S. 1398).  Voinovich indicated that he was intimately involved in the creation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and said he "would love to be able to put the same kind of coalition together" that worked on the Everglades restoration efforts for the Great Lakes. He said, "This is my dream." Testimony was received from U.S. EPA Region 5, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Great Lakes Commission, Ohio State University, and Great Lakes United. Access the hearing testimony and member statements (click here)

Access the WIMS Great Lakes Restoration & Revitalization Special Report website for additional information website (click here).

Ullrich To Head Great Lakes Cities Initiative - Jul 19: At a press conference in Chicago on Saturday, July 19, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley introduced Dave Ullrich as the first Director of the Great Lakes Cities Initiative, a new project of the Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI) that seeks to have the region's mayors work jointly to advance the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes ecosystem.  Ullrich was Deputy Regional Administrator for the Great Lakes Region of the U.S. EPA from 1992 until 2003. During his 30 years with EPA, he has been Acting Regional Administrator, Director of the Waste Management Division, Ating Regional Counsel, and Chief of Air Enforcement.  He was the U.S. chair of the International Joint Commission's Water Quality Board from 1997 to 2003, as well as a founding member and past chair of the Midwest Natural Resources Group. Email Dave Ullrich at the Great Lakes Cities Initiative (click here) or Phone: 312-201-4516. Access the Cities Initiative section of the NEMWI website: (click here).

GLC & Sea Grant Partnership - Jul 14: The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and the National Sea Grant College Programs in the Great Lakes states have announced a new partnership to help identify ecosystem restoration needs and the science behind them. They said the information can then be used by the region’s governors – and the larger community of policymakers and opinion leaders – as a basis for a formal plan to ensure the sustainable use, management and protection of the resource. The effort, funded by the National Sea Grant College Program, is a two-year initiative to research ecosystem problems and needs; assess existing restoration initiatives; conduct focus groups to identify priorities; and convene a restoration planning forum to assemble outcomes. The process will help regional leadership in preparing a blueprint for congressional action that offers practical guidance in allocating funds for programs and projects that will move the region toward a shared vision for the future. Access a release (click here).



GAO Surveys State Freshwater Supply Issues
- Jul 9: The General Accounting Office (GAO) has released a report -- Freshwater Supply: States' View of How Federal Agencies Could Help Them Meet the Challenges of Expected Shortages (GAO-03-514, July 9). GAO was asked to determine the current conditions and future trends for U.S. water availability and use, the likelihood of shortages and their potential consequences, and states’ views on how Federal activities could better support state water management efforts to meet future demands. GAO conducted a web-based survey of water managers in the 50 states and received responses from 47 states; California, Michigan, and New Mexico did not participate. GAO determinded that national water availability and use has not been comprehensively assessed in 25 years, but current trends indicate that demands on the nation’s supplies are growing. In particular, the nation’s capacity for storing surface-water is limited and ground-water is being depleted. State water managers expect freshwater shortages in the near future, and the consequences may be severe. Even under normal conditions, water managers in 36 states anticipate shortages in localities, regions, or statewide in the next 10 years. Access the complete 118-page report (click here, pdf).

GLC Responds To GAO Study - Jun 17: The Great Lakes Commission recently responded to to members of the Great Lakes Congressional Delegation in follow-up to the recently released report of the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO, An Overall Strategy and Indicators for Measuring Progress Are Needed to Better Achieve Restoration Goals, released May 21, 2003), and in response to the Great Lakes Commission's call for a comprehensive, consensus-based ecosystem restoration plan. The Commission urged Congress to: Enact U.S. federal legislation that authorizes and funds development of a Great Lakes Restoration Plan; Strengthen science-based decisionmaking by enacting S. 1116, the Great Lakes Water Quality Monitoring Implementation Act; and Urge the U.S. and Canadian federal governments to undertake a comprehensive review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and revise, if needed, to reflect current restoration priorities. Acces the GLC letter (click here). Access the complete 97-page GAO report (click here).


GLC Responds To GAO Study - Jun 17: The Great Lakes Commission recently responded to to members of the Great Lakes Congressional Delegation in follow-up to the recently released report of the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO, An Overall Strategy and Indicators for Measuring Progress Are Needed to Better Achieve Restoration Goals, released May 21, 2003), and in response to the Great Lakes Commission's call for a comprehensive, consensus-based ecosystem restoration plan. The Commission urged Congress to: Enact U.S. federal legislation that authorizes and funds development of a Great Lakes Restoration Plan; Strengthen science-based decisionmaking by enacting S. 1116, the Great Lakes Water Quality Monitoring Implementation Act; and Urge the U.S. and Canadian federal governments to undertake a comprehensive review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and revise, if needed, to reflect current restoration priorities. Acces the GLC letter (click here). Access the complete 97-page GAO report (click here).


IJC Says It's Pleased With GAO Report - Jun 4: The International Joint Commission (IJC) said it is pleased that the recent report of the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO),  Great Lakes – An Overall Strategy and Indicators for Measuring Progress Are needed to Better Achieve Restoration Goals, agrees with the findings of the May 1st special report of the IJC entitled, The Status of Restoration Activities in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern and its September 2002 11th Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality. The GAO concluded in its report that there is no coordinated or unified strategy to restore the Great Lakes. Other organizations, including the IJC, have reached the same conclusion, and made recommendations consistent with those in the GAO report for several years. Access an IJC release (click here). Access the complete 97-page GAO report (click here). Access an IJC release on its report with links to a map of the AOCs (click here).


Great Lakes Need An Overarching Strategy - May 21: The General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report entitled, Great Lakes: An Overall Strategy and Indicators for Measuring Progress Are Needed to Better Achieve Restoration Goals (GAO-03-515, April 30). To address the extent of progress made in restoring the Great Lakes Basin, which includes the lakes and surrounding area, GAO (1) identified the Federal and state environmental programs operating in the basin and funding devoted to them, (2) evaluated the restoration strategies used and how they are coordinated, and (3) assessed overall environmental progress made in the basin restoration effort. GAO recommended that U.S. EPA ensure that the Great Lakes National Program Office fulfills its coordination responsibilities and develop an overarching Great Lakes strategy; and develop environmental indicators and a monitoring system for the Great Lakes Basin that can be used to measure overall restoration progress. GAO said that the recently published Great Lakes Strategy 2002, "is largely a description of existing and planned program activities rather than an overarching plan." Access the complete 97-page report (click here).


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