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New projects at the Great Lakes Commission



Great Lakes Commission announces new projects to benefit the Great Lakes
region

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Great Lakes environmental protection and resource
management efforts will receive a big boost over the next year, thanks
to more than $4 million in new grants and funding received by the Great
Lakes Commission.  More than a dozen new and continuing projects were
announced at the Commission’s 1998 annual meeting in Buffalo, N.Y., on
Oct. 19-20, where more than 140 U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes leaders
from the public, private and citizen sectors convened to address and act
on an array of Great Lakes policy issues.

 “Great Lakes Commission initiatives have three things in common,”
explains newly elected Chair Irene Brooks.  “They respond directly to
regional priorities, they address both environmental and economic goals,
and they emphasize intergovernmental and public/private sector
partnerships.”

 Among others, Commission staff members and partners will direct their
attention to the following new initiatives over the coming year:

-- Water quality.  Develop an approach to track water quality monitoring
efforts and publicize public beach closures throughout the Great Lakes
basin;

-- Air quality.  Enhance and refine a precedent-setting emissions
inventory that tracks point, area and mobile source emissions for 79
toxic contaminants.

-- Aquatic nuisance species.  Produce a video documentary for airing on
national cable television.

-- Geographic information systems.  Improve spatial data mapping access
for environmental monitoring to   Great Lakes decisionmakers.

-- Contaminated sediments.  Improve federal/state relations and dredging
procedures for navigational and environmental dredging.

-- Oil and hazardous materials spills.  Develop prevention and response
strategies including the mapping of sensitive coastal areas.

-- Brownfields redevelopment.  Develop strategies to reclaim and reuse
former industrial sites, while reducing   incentives for urban sprawl
that threaten greenfields.

-- Land use.  Support urban and agricultural demonstration projects that
reduce soil erosion and sedimentation   problems and their associated
economic and environmental impacts.

 These and more than two dozen additional projects are supported by
federal agency and foundation sponsors that include the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Great Lakes Protection Fund and the C.S. Mott Foundation,
among others.

 “This growing array of project-specific initiatives is complemented by
another important Commission mandate,”explained Commission Executive
Director Dr. Michael J. Donahue.  “We have an obligation to represent
member states' interests before Congress and the administration.”

 Donahue adds that the organization already is preparing its legislative
and appropriations priorities for the 106th Congress, which will convene
in January 1999.

 The Great Lakes Commission web site, located at http://www.glc.org,
contains detailed project information and policy positions.  The Great
Lakes Information Network, located at http://www.great-lakes.net, will
be the clearinghouse for communicating updates on these and other
emerging Great Lakes issues.

# # #

 The Great Lakes Commission is a nonpartisan, interstate compact agency
created by state and federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong
economy, clean environment and high quality of life for residents of the
eight-state Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota,
New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin). The Commission consists of
state legislators, agency officials and governors’ appointees from its
member states, and also maintains a formal Observer program involving
U.S. and Canadian federal and provincial agencies, tribal authorities,
binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices
are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Contact:  Michael J. Donahue
Phone:  734-665-9135
Fax:  734-665-4370
Email:  mdonahue@glc.org