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GLIN==> New projects to benefit Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region



For immediate release
October 26, 2000

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

Great Lakes Commission announces new projects to benefit Great Lakes-St. 
Lawrence region

Ann Arbor, Mich. -The Great Lakes Commission, a binational, 
state/provincial agency that advances regional environmental protection and 
sustainable development goals, announces the receipt of more than $5.1 
million in federal and foundation grants for program and project 
initiatives in FY2001.  "Our objective is to support the priorities of our 
member states and provinces," explains Chair Nat Robinson.  "These grants, 
which include new-start and ongoing initiatives, are all directed at the 
protection and sustainable use of our precious natural resources."

Project-specific initiatives augment the Commission advocacy 
responsibilities, which are supported by member dues.  Its enabling federal 
and state legislation, the Great Lakes Basin Compact, calls on the 
Commission to represent the region's interests in the areas of resource 
management, environmental protection, transportation and sustainable 
development.

In the areas of Resource Management and Environmental Quality, new start 
and ongoing projects will:

.  	Improve water resources management decisionmaking.  A new multi-year, 
multi-agency effort is underway to develop a water resources management 
decision support system for the Great Lakes, laying the framework for the 
data, information and process required to ensure timely and well-informed 
public policy decisions concerning the use and management of Great Lakes 
surface and groundwater resources.

.  	Accelerate efforts for aquatic nuisance species prevention and control. 
 Projects include the development of a regional ballast water management 
policy position; update of an information/education strategy;  and an 
assessment of progress under U.S. federal law over the last decade.

.	Improve water quality by controlling agricultural and urban nonpoint 
source pollution.  The Commission will award grants for local demonstration 
projects, and coordinate the efforts of soil and water conservation 
professionals.

.	Advance prevention and response capability for oil and hazardous material 
spills. Federal emergency response and planning efforts will be supported 
through geographic information system (GIS) map products and contingency 
planning assistance to local, state, federal and private groups.  A new 
web-based Freshwater Spills Information Center (www.freshwaterspills.net) 
 will provide the regulated and response communities with immediate access 
to data and information.

.	Advance cleanup of toxic "hot spots."  The Commission will support the 
Statewide Public Advisory Council for Michigan's Areas of Concern (AOC) 
Program, including training and capacity building for local groups.  The 
Commission will also assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in reaching 
out to agencies, public advisory committees and others that can benefit 
from the Corps' resources in AOC cleanup.

.	Strengthen management of the "sixth" Great Lake.  A binational Lake St. 
Clair Management Initiative will elevate the profile of the lake, 
coordinate and enhance U.S. and Canadian management activities, and address 
gaps and unmet needs.

.	Improve inventory monitoring programs in the Lake Michigan basin. The 
Commission will collaborate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
and local representatives to develop findings and recommendations for 
improving monitoring linkages, and produce a database to display monitoring 
station data online in a map format that is searchable geographically and 
by content.  The Commission will also support the Lake Michigan Monitoring 
Coordination Council,  a forum for coordinating and supporting monitoring 
activities and developing a shared resource of information, based on 
documented standards and protocols, that is usable across agency and 
jurisdictional boundaries.

.	Improve water quality through watershed management.  The Commission will 
assist watershed leaders in Ohio with comprehensive planning efforts.  In 
Michigan and Indiana, a bi-state process for environmental planning in the 
St. Joseph River watershed will be developed.

Communications and Information Management projects will:

.	Strengthen air quality management decisionmaking.  A binational Great 
Lakes Regional Air Toxic Emissions Inventory will be conducted annually and 
yield point, area and mobile source data on 188 pollutants, and will 
feature an enhanced mercury inventory.

.	Apply GIS technologies to policy issues to improve decisionmaking.  An 
online library of GIS data will allow officials in the binational Great 
Lakes basin to access and apply unprecedented levels of geographic 
information to resource management decisions.

.	Promote public health through beach closures information.  Internet 
access to water quality monitoring and closure information on hundreds of 
Great Lakes public beaches will be provided as a pilot project for the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency's national Beaches Environment Assessment, 
Closure and Health (BEACH) Program.  Also, a new web site will be developed 
focusing on Great Lakes human health information.

.	Promote classroom attention to Great Lakes issues.   Educators will be 
provided with an online library of educational materials, including an 
information exchange service and expert speakers bureau via The Education 
And Curriculum Homesite (TEACH Great Lakes, www.great-lakes.net/teach/). 
 TEACH Great Lakes is a new component of the Great Lakes Information 
Network (GLIN, www.great-lakes.net).

.	Form partnerships with scientists around the world.  A Baltic Fellows 
program will bring scientists from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania to U.S. 
and Canadian host agencies for information exchange and collaboration.

Transportation and Sustainable Development projects will:

.  	Promote sustainable land-use practices. Brownfields redevelopment 
strategies will reduce development pressure on greenfields.  Efforts 
include a web site, case studies, local workshops, and recommended public 
and private sector tools.

.	Strengthen maritime transportation infrastructure.   Construction 
appropriations will be sought for a new large lock at Sault Ste. Marie, 
Mich., a decades-old goal of the maritime community.  Intensive, 
eight-state negotiations yielded an agreement on the required nonfederal 
cost share.

.	Reduce maritime transportation costs and improve environmental quality. 
 Disposal options for dredged material will be developed,  keeping critical 
waterways open while disposing of/reusing material in an environmentally 
responsible way.

. 	Serve the recreational boating community.  Recreational boating research 
will provide the basis for future economic impact studies of recreational 
boating in the region.

Support for the above projects has been secured from numerous sources, 
including the C.S. Mott Foundation, Great Lakes Protection Fund, National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ohio Environmental Protection 
Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (Natural 
Resources Conservation Service), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.

These new-start and expanded projects are among 50 priority initiatives 
comprising the Great Lakes Commission's Work Plan for FY2001.  All address 
elements of the Commission's five-year Strategic Plan. For details on 
individual projects and funders, contact the Great Lakes Commission at 
Argus II Bldg., 400 Fourth St., Ann Arbor, MI 48103-4816, phone 
734-665-9135, fax 734-665-4370, e-mail mdonahue@glc.org.

###

The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Nathaniel E. Robinson (Wisconsin), 
is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by state and U.S. 
federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy 
environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence 
region and its residents.  The Commission consists of state legislators, 
agency officials and governors' appointees from its eight member states. 
 Associate membership for Ontario and Quebec was established through the 
signing of a "Declaration of Partnership."  The Commission maintains a 
formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, 
tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests.  The 
Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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