Commission's top priorities for FY2009 legislation, appropriations
The Great Lakes Commission has released its FY2009 federal legislative priorities, which will be presented to Congress on Feb. 28, Great Lakes Day in Washington.
At the top of the list is legislation to curb the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species and to implement other key recommendations of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration's Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes.
On behalf of its membership, the Great Lakes states, the Commission annually prepares and submits to Congress a list of sought-after federal legislation and appropriations to address key Great Lakes needs. The Commission endorses the recommendations to Congress from the Council of Great Lakes Governors and additional recommendations which complement the governors' requests.
Great Lakes Day in Washington, held annually in the U.S. capital, is designed to convey a unified message from the Great Lakes states, the mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, the Healing Our Waters® - Great Lakes Coalition, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority and the Council of Great Lakes Industries. The gathering is sponsored by the Great Lakes Commission and the Northeast-Midwest Institute.
The Commission's FY2009 legislative priorities are available at www.glc.org/restore. Contact: Tim Eder, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study detailing local government investments in the Great Lakes to be released
Key findings of a report documenting local government investments in Great Lakes restoration and protection will be presented at Great Lakes Day in Washington events on Feb. 27, 2008. The report, a survey of municipalities in the Great Lakes region, details spending by local governments on water quality and other areas that help protect and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem.
Produced by the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, the study responds to congressional requests for documentation of regional investments in Great Lakes restoration. A press conference will be held at noon EST on Feb. 27 on Capitol Hill to release findings of the report. Speakers will include the Commission's chairman, Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry, along with Mayor Gary Becker (City of Racine, Wisconsin) and Mayor Denis Lapointe (City of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec). The full report, audio files from the press conference and more will be posted at www.glc.org/glinvestment. Contact: Victoria Pebbles, email@example.com.
Lake Michigan pilot study released
A pilot study, using Lake Michigan to test and improve the design of a national monitoring network, has been completed by the Lake Michigan Monitoring Coordination Council, a project of the Great Lakes Commission.
Lake Michigan was selected as the location for one of three pilot studies to inform and help refine the development of the National Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters and Their Tributaries (NMN). The other two pilot studies were the Delaware River and San Francisco Bay. Lake Michigan was chosen in part because the stressors faced by it and the other Great Lakes, including toxic pollutants, nonpoint source pollution, water level fluctuations, invasive species, and coastal developmental pressures. Lake Michigan also has a significant amount of monitoring and assessment challenges that may have applications to other regions as well. The NMN is coordinating water monitoring across the nation to provide a comprehensive database and understanding of water resources and the health of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. A draft summary report and all three pilot studies are available at www.acwi.gov/monitoring/network/pilots. Contact: John Hummer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lautenbacher to address Semiannual Meeting
Vice Adm. Conrad Lautenbacher Jr. (Ret.), administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will be among the keynote presenters at the 2008 Semiannual Meeting of the Great Lakes Commission, Feb. 26-27 in Washington, D.C. Lautenbacher, who will address the topic of ocean and coastal policy priorities for the Great Lakes, will speak on the morning of Feb. 27.
Other addresses will be given by John Paul Woodley Jr., assistant secretary of the Army for civil works and Benjamin Grumbles, U.S. EPA assistant administrator for water. This year's meeting is being held in conjunction with Great Lake Day in Washington events on Feb. 27-28. For more information, including draft agendas, see www.glc.org/meeting. Contact: Tim Eder, email@example.com
Indiana approves Great Lakes Compact; New York expected soon
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has given his approval to legislation to ratify the Great Lakes Compact, signing the bill into law on Wednesday, Feb. 20. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is expected to sign similar legislation for his state shortly, which would bring to four the number of states that have ratified the multistate agreement protecting Great Lakes water. The New York General Assembly gave final approval to the bill and sent it to the governor on Feb. 11; the Indiana House passed its bill on Jan. 24.
In other states, Great Lakes Compact legislation passed the Ohio House of Representatives on Feb. 19; it now faces an uncertain timetable in the state senate, where some senators have expressed concerns. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved Compact legislation on Jan. 28; the measure is now awaiting action in the state senate. Legislation was also introduced in the Wisconsin State Senate on Feb. 21, meaning that all eight Great Lakes states now have either active or have enacted Great Lakes Compact legislation. For more information, see www.cglg.org.
Great Lakes legislative priorities tracking available on GLIN
The Great Lakes Commission has developed a web-based tool to provide up-to-date information on Great Lakes legislative priorities. The new site - part of the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN) - helps to increase support for Great Lakes protection and restoration by providing easy access to the status of federal legislation and appropriations through a single web site: www.glin.net/legislativepriorities
The site offers a searchable database of current legislative priorities, news updates, announcements of hearings and briefings, and information about members of the Great Lakes Congressional Delegation, including bills they've sponsored, maps of congressional districts and much more.
Funded by the Wege Foundation, this project is helping to engage a wide array of audiences in the legislative process, and informing, educating and building stewardship for the Great Lakes. Further refinement of the web site and additional information will be added during 2008-09. Contact: Christine Manninen, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study to assess invasive threats to microbial community
The Great Lakes Commission is assisting with a new initiative to probe the sensitivity of the Great Lakes microbial community to newcomers and develop tools and processes to protect it. The arrival of the viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) virus in the Great Lakes, and its subsequent impact on fish populations, raised awareness of the potential hazards presented by nonnative pathogens. The new initiative, headed by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, will look at the potential impacts of such invaders on the Great Lakes microbial community itself, and develop new techniques for monitoring and detecting them. The Great Lakes Commission will assist in coordinating state involvement and developing potential institutional and policy changes.
Funding is provided by a $1 million grant from the Great Lakes Protection Fund. Contact: Tim Eder, email@example.com.
Featured project: Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN)
The Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN) is the Commission's primary vehicle for channeling news, data and other information about the Great Lakes and the binational Great Lakes - St. Lawrence region of North America. Thanks to its strong network of state, provincial, federal and regional partner agencies and organizations, GLIN has become a necessary component of informed decisionmaking, and a trusted and reliable source of information for those who live, work or have an interest in the Great Lakes region. Among its key components is GLIN Daily News, a weekday roundup of Great Lakes-related articles from regional and national news media. GLIN also provides access to a variety of Great Lakes databases, including maps and GIS; sections on the environment, economy and tourism; and The Education And Curriculum Homesite (TEACH), a Great Lakes-themed educational resource for educators and middle-to high school students. Sections of GLIN are frequently cross-linked, so users are rarely more than 2-3 clicks away from the information they need. See www.glin.net. Contact: Christine Manninen, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A News Briefs archive can be found at www.glc.org/email/archive