Registration now open for GLC Annual Meeting, Sept. 9 in Milwaukee
The 2013 Annual Meeting of the Great Lakes Commission will be held at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center on Sept. 9. Again this year, the GLC Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with Great Lakes Week, which features the annual meetings and conferences of diverse groups who are leading the fight to restore the Great Lakes. Events this year include the first binational public forum under the new Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition’s Great Lakes Restoration Conference.
The GLC meeting will feature panel discussions on fluctuating water levels and St. Clair River control options; the Waukesha, Wis., water diversion proposal; and innovative state and provincial programs for dealing with nutrient management, invasive species and other pressing Great Lakes issues. Attendees are also welcome to attend a free tour of the Sheboygan River Area of Concern on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2-6 p.m., generously hosted by Wisconsin DNR. The tour will be followed by an opening reception at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center from 7-9 p.m.
Online meeting registration, agenda, and travel and lodging information are available at www.glc.org/meeting. To receive discounted registration fees, register by Aug. 9! Fees will rise to $125 on Aug. 10.
Contact: Christine Manninen, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Tim Eder, email@example.com.
Progress on legislative priorities
Several noteworthy legislative actions – all high priorities of the Great Lakes Commission – have occurred in recent weeks:
WRDA passes Senate with important Great Lakes navigation provisions, Rep. Miller introduces navigation legislation in House
In May, the Senate acted on a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that includes provisions intended to increase critically needed resources to alleviate the backlog in dredging of Great Lakes ports and harbors. Reflecting a longstanding policy priority, the Great Lakes Commission urged the Senate to reform the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) to ensure that all fees collected are used for their intended purpose - maintaining our nation's ports and harbors, including those in the Great Lakes. The Commission also called for designating Great Lakes maritime infrastructure as a single, interconnected navigation system instead of a series of separate projects, and for a specific funding authorization for Great Lakes maritime infrastructure needs. The Great Lakes provisions in the final bill, passed by an 83-14 vote, were the result of hard work and lengthy negotiations led by Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow from Michigan and their staff, with support from many members of the Senate Great Lakes delegation.
On the House side, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) introduced H.R. 2273, the Great Lakes Navigation System Sustainability Act. The Great Lakes Commission supports key provisions of the bill, including authorizing the Great Lakes Navigation System as a single, integrated system, which would allow the Corps of Engineers to aggregate the system’s collective benefits when allocating resources for dredging and other needs. The Commission also supports a cost-share program for recreational harbors, such as the provision in H.R. 2273, which would address a significant gap in funding for these important economic assets for coastal communities in the Great Lakes. Smaller harbors have seen little, if any, maintenance funding from the Corps in recent years. Creating a cost-share program for these harbors would leverage nonfederal funding and optimize scarce federal funds, resulting in more recreational harbors getting dredged. It is expected that the House will consider the Miller proposals when it takes up WRDA.
GLEEPA introduced in Senate by Levin, Kirk, companion bill in House is expected soon
On June 26, the Great Lakes Commission welcomed new bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate that authorizes several critical Great Lakes restoration programs and strengthens regional coordination and binational cooperation with Canada. The Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act (GLEEPA) was introduced by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, along with Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Discussions are underway in the House of Representatives to introduce a companion to the Senate bill.
- Formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a multiagency program that is implementing a comprehensive cleanup strategy
- Reauthorize the Great Lakes Legacy Act, a program begun in 2002 to clean up contaminated sediments in 31 U.S. and binational Areas of Concern across the Great Lakes
- Establish an Interagency Task Force to coordinate federal Great Lakes programs and a Great Lakes Advisory Board to secure input and guidance from regional stakeholders
- Authorize U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office, which leads the GLRI and the Great Lakes Legacy Act, oversees implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with Canada, and coordinates other Great Lakes programs and policies
Contact: Matt Doss, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Tim Eder, email@example.com.
GLC and USDA-NRCS launch innovative phosphorus trading program in Wisconsin
To help alleviate high nutrient levels and algal blooms, a phosphorus credit trading program for the Lower Fox River watershed in Wisconsin is being developed under a partnership between the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS).
Like many other watersheds in the Great Lakes region, the Fox River – one of five Areas of Concern in Wisconsin – suffers from water pollution problems, including harmful algal blooms (HABs), runoff pollution from urban and rural areas, municipal and industrial wastewater discharges, and degraded habitats. In most cases, HABs are caused by excess nutrients, especially phosphorus, which comes from a variety of sources including point sources – cities and industries – and nonpoint runoff from urban and rural lands. The Fox River has been designated by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources as impaired under the U.S. Clean Water Act.
Funded through USDA-NRCS Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funds, the phosphorus credit trading program in the Lower Fox River area is seen as a cost-effective approach to achieve water quality goals and increase overall environmental and economic benefits. The project is expected to foster and support voluntary conservation action by private landowners to protect and restore the Lower Fox. The project will also be used as a model to address pollution issues in other priority watersheds within the Great Lakes basin.
For more information, visit www.glc.org/foxptrade or contact Victoria Pebbles, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swedish delegation visits the Great Lakes
A Swedish delegation and colleagues from the International Joint Commission visited the GLC on May 29, 2013, to discuss Lake Vanern (west of Stockholm), the Great Lakes and similarities between the two ecosystems. The delegation was led by Dr. Marcus Drotz, curator of the Lake Vänern Museum of Natural and Cultural History and coordinator of the scientific network LTSER Vänern landscape. Lake Vanern - the largest lake in Sweden – was heavily polluted during the 1950s-1970s but its condition has improved and today the lake has both high economic and social importance. For more Lake Vanern facts, visit bit.ly/vanermuseet.
2013 Great Lakes Commission Annual Meeting
In conjunction with Great Lakes Week
September 9, 2013
Contact: Tim Eder, email@example.com
Great Lakes Wind Collaborative 6th Annual Meeting
September 22-23, 2013
Contact: Becky Pearson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Lakes Commission
2805 S. Industrial Hwy, Suite 100 Ann Arbor, MI 48104-6791 734-971-9135 www.glc.org
A News Briefs archive can be found at www.glc.org/email/archive