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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 13 May 2002


* Briefing: Reforming the Corps
* Briefings: Invasive Species
* Briefing: Groundwater and Drought
* Briefing: Great Lakes Water Levels
* Update: Great Lakes Sedimentation


The Northeast-Midwest Institute on Monday, May 13, is hosting a briefing for congressional staff on the leading proposals to reform the Army Corps of Engineers. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) may include sweeping changes to how the Corps does business, as a number of members of Congress have stepped forward with legislative proposals. These bills include Senator Bob Smith’s S.1987, Senator Russ Feingold’s S.646, Rep. Ron Kind’s H.R.1310, and Rep. Thomas Tancredo’s H.R.2353. At this briefing, staff will learn about the leading proposals and Senate and House committee actions.

Speakers will include majority staffers with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as representatives of American Rivers and Taxpayers for Common Sense. The May 13 briefing will begin at 12:30 pm in room HC-8 of the U.S. Capitol.

Contact: Matt Little at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-5200).


Numerous organizations on Tuesday, May 14, and Thursday, May 16, are organizing briefings to discuss the threats and impacts presented by invasive species (both terrestrial and aquatic), the importance of biodiversity, and the efforts being made to address these challenges.

The May 14 sessions – from 10:00 am until 11:30 am in 418 Russell Senate Office Building, and from 2:00 pm until 3:30 pm in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building – will focus on aquatic and marine invasive species, including presentations by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, Lake Carriers Association, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and World Conservation Union.

The May 16 briefing – from 10:00 am until 11:30 am in 2318 Rayburn – will address terrestrial invasive species, including presentations by the National Invasive Species Council, National and Regional Weed Science Societies, Nature Conservancy, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Contact: Kris Sarri at the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (224-0606).


The National Ground Water Association and Northeast-Midwest Institute on Friday, May 17, are sponsoring a briefing on the impacts of drought on groundwater. While drying rivers and lakes are visible effects of drought, less obvious are falling water tables, declining homeowner wells, and reduced reserves of groundwater to sustain streamflow. The briefing will review how groundwater monitoring is essential to achieve a complete picture of drought, as well as examine implications for this coming summer and fall.

Speakers will represent the U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Emergency Management Agency, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The May 17 event will begin at 10:00 am in room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building. Refreshments will be served.

Contact: Allen Hance at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (544-5200).


The Great Lakes Task Force on Thursday, May 23, will host its annual meeting on water levels in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab will present its forecast and discuss climate change impacts on water levels; the International Joint Commission will discuss water level regulations; and the Army Corps of Engineers will review the impacts of water levels.

The May 23 briefing will begin at 10:00 am in room SC-6 of the U.S. Capitol.

Contact: Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force (224-1211).


The farm bill, which awaits the president’s signature, includes authorization for the Great Lakes Basin Soil Erosion & Sediment Control Program, a federal/state partnership promoted by the Great Lakes Task Forces and managed by the Great Lakes Commission in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and Great Lakes states. The program’s goal is to protect and improve Great Lakes water quality by controlling erosion and sedimentation, and by limiting the input of nutrients and toxic contaminants. Program elements include grants, technical assistance, and education activities.

Contact: Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Forces (224-1211).