GLC adopts Great Lakes Restoration Initiative recommendations at its Annual Meeting
Meeting recap, including presentations and photos, at www.glc.org/about/glcmeetings.html
Recommendations to federal agencies for implementing the proposed Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) were adopted by the Commission at its 2009 Annual Meeting in Erie, Pa., Sept. 29-30. Having passed the House and Senate at funding levels of $475 million and $400 million respectively, the legislation is now in conference committee.
Great Lakes states will be key partners with federal agencies in carrying out the GLRI. Among key recommendations endorsed at the Erie meeting were more explicit inclusion of the Great Lakes states in establishing priorities for the GLRI and increased coordination and consolidation in the administration of GLRI funds, to maximize efficiency and accountability.
Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), whose northwest Pennsylvania 3rd District includes Erie and the stateís Lake Erie coastline, provided the opening keynote address and urged the Commission to continue its stewardship efforts for the lakes. Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott also addressed the Commissioners, as did Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority Executive Director Ray Schreckengost, who outlined current challenges facing the Great Lakes cruise ship industry.
The meeting also featured a panel of national experts discussing the connections between water use, conservation and energy production. The discussion produced a GLC resolution supporting new protocols and management models recognizing the close relationship between water consumption and energy supply planning.
In other action, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was re-elected chair of the Great Lakes Commission, and Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources Water Division Administrator Todd Ambs was re-elected vice chair. Contact: Tim Eder, email@example.com.
Guidelines proposed for offshore wind turbine development in the Great Lakes
The Offshore Wind Workgroup of the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative (GLWC) took major steps at a meeting in Ann Arbor Oct. 8 toward development of guidelines for planning and siting of offshore wind turbines. The session followed up on actions at the Collaborative's annual meeting earlier this year in Milwaukee to promote sustainable development of offshore wind power generation in the lakes. It was also preceded by an informational webinar hosted by the Great Lakes Commission, which facilitates the GLWC.
The meeting included representatives of U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, Great Lakes states and Canadian provincial authorities, tribes and First Nations, non-governmental organizations, wind industry and electric utility interests, and other stakeholders. The final document, "Siting Principles and Guidelines for Wind Development on the Great Lakes," addresses a broad range of considerations for offshore wind turbines, including siting and pre-construction planning, lake floor habitat, fisheries, bird and bat impacts, noise, lakeshore habitat, navigation and transportation, and scenic/historic issues. Next steps call for building on this document with more detail as knowledge advances about offshore wind siting on the Great Lakes.
The GLWC is a multi-sector coalition of wind energy stakeholders working to facilitate the sustainable development of wind power in the binational Great Lakes region. The Siting Principles and Guidelines document, along with other GLWC information, can be accessed at www.glc.org/energy/wind. Contact: John Hummer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Lakes Commission Annual Report now available
The Great Lakes Commissionís 2008 Annual Report was recently released, both in hard-copy and electronic formats. The full-color, 12-page report highlights major accomplishments in Great Lakes protection and restoration that were realized in 2008, including enactment of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, reauthorization of the Great Lakes Legacy Act, and renewed appropriations for the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control. The report summarizes major activities of the Commission during 2008 and outlines strategic priorities developed that year for future guidance. It also details the Commissionís 2008 financial status and identifies all GLC funders. The report can accessed online at www.glc.org/advisor/report/2008/2008AR-web.pdf. Contact: Christine Manninen, email@example.com.
Toxic hotspots discussed at annual meeting for Areas of Concern
Milwaukee was the site of the October 1-2 annual meeting for the U.S. Areas of Concern (AOC) program. Some 160 participants convened to review recent developments affecting the program and discuss approaches to delisting targets. Attendees also discussed opportunities to address AOC restoration priorities under President Obama's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and improve linkages between the AOCs, Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs) and other programs.
Agenda highlights included keynote remarks from Todd Ambs, Water Division Administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Vice Chair of the Great Lakes Commission. Meeting participants included representatives from local AOC groups, state and federal agency staff, LaMP participants, academic partners, consultants, and other groups were in attendance. Presentations from the meeting and associated materials can be accessed at www.glc.org/rap/aocconference09recap.html. The meeting was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office, the Great Lakes Commission, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Contact: Matt Doss, firstname.lastname@example.org.