President’s FY 2011 budget announced, includes $300 million for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
President Obama announced his proposed budget for FY 2011 today, focusing on job creation and fiscal responsibility. The President’s budget continues support for collaborative, interagency ecosystem restoration efforts, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Proposed by the Obama Administration as a five-year program to implement a comprehensive restoration plan for the Great Lakes, the GLRI was funded at $475 million in FY 2010, its first year. The President has included $300 million in his budget for the Initiative’s second year.
Last month, the Great Lakes Commission and 14 other Great Lakes regional organizations urged President Obama to maintain or exceed funding of $475 million for the GLRI in FY 2011. “While the GLRI is off to a strong start,” wrote the 15 organizations in a co-signed letter to Obama, “we need sustained funding to fulfill your commitment, build on past investments and ensure the GLRI’s long-term success.” The letter acknowledged the broad support for the initiative within the region, noting that it has been endorsed by the Great Lakes governors, states, cities, tribes, conservation groups, business and industry.
More information on the GLRI is available at greatlakesrestoration.us. Full details of the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget are available at www.whitehouse.gov/budget. Contact: Matt Doss, firstname.lastname@example.org.
New online applications offered by GLIN Labs
Many new and creative ideas are now being tested for the Great Lakes Information Network’s online research and development laboratory GLIN Labs, accessible at labs.glin.net. Similar to Google Labs, users are encouraged to test drive the new applications in development and submit comments and suggestions. Many of GLIN Labs’ new offerings were generated at a Dec. 4, 2009, meeting of the GLIN Labs Advisory Team which includes experts from Google, Yahoo and a variety of regional data providers and Internet technologists.
Through a new Text-Alert Signup tool, users can receive periodic text messages when new applications have been uploaded to the Lab. The vision for GLIN Labs is to allow users to integrate multiple sets of data into applications that display information of value to Great Lakes decision makers, businesses and other interests.
GLIN Labs will host a special “Developers Forum/Webinar” from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 10 to bring together application developers to discuss current and upcoming projects and share expertise. Participants can register online at labs.glin.net. Contact: Christine Manninen, email@example.com.
New Commission energy and water initiatives to inform Compact implementation
The Great Lakes Commission recently launched two new initiatives with grants from the Great Lakes Protection Fund to generate information that can help the states collectively achieve the goals of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Agreement.
The Great Lakes Energy-Water Nexus initiative will advance integration of energy and water resource decisionmaking and inform next generation energy development and deployment. The Commission is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories, Cornell University, and a host of other institutions and individuals who are leaders on the relationships between water and energy. The first phase of this initiative is an 18-month project that aims to develop new tools and processes for integrating environmental considerations into existing energy planning and regulatory decisionmaking. This includes developing Great Lakes region-specific energy-water nexus maps, a modeling tool that can demonstrate water resource impact tradeoffs under different energy production scenarios, and a report on the region’s energy-water nexus that analyzes the relationships between energy and the Great Lakes environment and offers a new framework for analyzing power generation impacts on Great Lakes aquatic resources. A final objective of this phase is to design a follow-on pilot project that will test and refine the outputs from this planning phase. Contact: Victoria Pebbles, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Value of Great Lakes Water initiative will study the pricing of public water in the Great Lakes region and look at ways that pricing can be used as a tool to better manage this precious water resource. The first phase of this initiative engages regional and national experts on water conservation and efficiency. The project will also help inform public water utilities that are looking to implement more sustainable practices in providing water. An end goal of the 18-month planning phase is design of a demonstration pilot where efficiency-oriented public water rate structures could be compared to more traditional rates structures to determine their potential for broader application in the region. Contact: Becky Pearson, email@example.com.