Lt. Gov. Farrow, Mayor Norquist to address Great Lakes Commission

Beach closings, water exports, invasive species on agenda in Milwaukee

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow will give the keynote address when the Great Lakes Commission holds its annual meeting in Milwaukee, “The Genuine American City,” on Oct. 10-11.

Farrow will speak Wednesday evening, Oct. 10, at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (“The Domes”). Other speakers to address the meeting include Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist and Richard Grigg, president/CEO of Wisconsin Electric-Wisconsin Gas Co.

Norquist will highlight Milwaukee’s connection to the Great Lakes during opening remarks Wednesday morning at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. Grigg will address a luncheon at the Hilton that same day.

Registration fees for those with media credentials will be waived for all events. Advance registration is requested. The Commission’s Chairman of the Board, along with other members of the Board of Directors and senior staff, will be available to meet with media to discuss matters of interest.

Beach closings, Great Lakes restoration, water exports and invasive species will be among the leading issues on the meeting agenda. The Commission, a binational agency charged with promoting the protection and informed use of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence water resources, will bring together officials from the United States and Canada to discuss and act on these and other initiatives.

Participants will include federal, state, provincial, local and tribal officials, along with representatives of business/industry, environmental/citizen groups and academic/research institutions. Under consideration will be policy positions and new initiatives to advance environmental protection, resource management, transportation and sustainable development efforts in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region.

“The last 12 months have been exciting ones for the Great Lakes Commission,” said Chairman Nat Robinson, a member of the Wisconsin delegation. “We’ve taken great strides in our efforts to ensure environmental and economic prosperity for the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence region. It’s time to take stock of our efforts to ‘Restore the Greatness’ and keep on message as we pursue our vision for the region.”

Among the meeting’s highlights will be a discussion of opportunities to develop a comprehensive, consensus-based “Great Lakes Restoration Plan” that presents a shared vision for the resource and outlines goals and objectives to attain that vision. State, regional and federal officials will examine the current state of restoration activities in the Great Lakes and discuss prospects and methods for achieving a large-scale restoration plan for the region as a whole. Commission officials will also assess their ongoing efforts to advance federal legislative and appropriations priorities embodied in their Great Lakes Program to Ensure Environmental and Economic Prosperity.

Beach closings, a persistent problem around the Great Lakes in recent years, will be another focal point. The meeting will bring together a panel of federal, state and local experts who will take on the issues associated with beach closings, such as sewage overflows, animal waste and stormwater runoff, and consider means to better address the causes of beach closings and keep the public informed of the status of their beaches.

The meeting will be hosted by the Wisconsin delegation to the Great Lakes Commission, and reflects the planning of a local committee chaired by Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum. The governor regards his state as a particularly appropriate setting for the meeting.

“Wisconsin has a strong history of environmentalism and is blessed to be bordered by Lake Michigan to the east, Lake Superior to the north and the Mississippi River to the west,” McCallum said. “In between those great bodies of water lie tens of thousands of smaller lakes and rivers. The water is an integral part of the lives of Wisconsinites and we are committed to protecting our water resources now and for future generations.”

Part of the meeting will showcase Wisconsin’s Great Lakes management priorities and focus on water quality and quantity, coastal management, commercial ports and shipping, and research, education and outreach. Other topics to be addressed include ongoing efforts to develop a decision support system to address proposed water withdrawals from the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence system, environmental monitoring programs, combining urban redevelopment with rural preservation, recreational boating, Great Lakes shipping, and reauthorization of the National Invasive Species Act.

Norquist is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. Wednesday and Grigg shortly after noon. Farrow’s address will be preceded by a reception at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7:30. Registration fees will be waived for those with media credentials.

For immediate release: October 8, 2001
Contact: Mike Donahue,, office: 734-665-9135


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Nathaniel E. Robinson (Wisconsin), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials, and governors’ appointees from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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