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GLIN==> Great Lakes Commission, Sea Grant to partner on restoration effort
- Subject: GLIN==> Great Lakes Commission, Sea Grant to partner on restoration effort
- From: Kirk Haverkamp <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 17:57:32 -0400
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- List-Name: GLIN-Announce
- Organization: Great Lakes Commission
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Media Advisory -- From Great Lakes Commission and National Sea Grant College
Leon Cammen, National Sea Grant College Program, 301-713-2435 x 136, email@example.com
Efforts to “Restore the Greatness” move forward
Great Lakes Commission, Sea Grant to partner on restoration effort
Ann Arbor, Mich. – Efforts to restore and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem
are taking a significant step forward, thanks to a new initiative by the
Great Lakes Commission and the National Sea Grant College Program.
The Commission will partner with university-based Sea Grant programs in the
Great Lakes states to help identify ecosystem restoration needs and the science
behind them. This information can then be used by the region’s governors
– and the larger community of policymakers and opinion leaders – as a basis
for a formal plan to ensure the sustainable use, management and protection
of the resource.
Funded by the National Sea Grant College Program, this ambitious two-year
initiative will research ecosystem problems and needs; assess existing restoration
initiatives; conduct focus groups to identify priorities; and convene a restoration
planning forum to assemble outcomes. The process will help regional leadership
in preparing a blueprint for congressional action that offers practical guidance
in allocating funds for programs and projects that will move the region toward
a shared vision for the future.
“Development of a restoration plan must be based upon sound science, and
proceed with a clear understanding of ecosystem conditions, objectives and
research activity,” said Dr. Michael J. Donahue, Great Lakes Commission president/CEO.
“Working together, the Commission and Sea Grant make a great team that will
help shape and support regional priorities.”
A regional consultation process will be used to gather information on the
range of prospective priorities. The process will be an inclusive one and
will welcome the involvement of all interests in the binational Great Lakes-St.
Lawrence region. A special emphasis will be placed on local perspectives
on restoration priorities, with consultations to include state coastal management
programs, mayors and municipal officials, and a range of user groups.
“Restoration planning is an emerging priority in regions throughout the country,”
said Dr. Ronald C. Baird, director of the National Sea Grant College Program.
“The foundation for a successful plan – and ecosystem improvement – is sound
science, and our state Sea Grant Programs are a tremendous source of scientific
A centerpiece of the effort will be a series of state-specific stakeholder
workshops convened by the Great Lakes Commission and Sea Grant. The inaugural
workshop will take place on Sept. 18, 2003, in Ann Arbor, Mich., as part
of a Great Lakes symposium led by Michigan Sea Grant and the University of
Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Similar workshops
in other Great Lakes states will follow over a nine-month period, also helping
to lay the foundation for the governors’ plan.
This restoration planning initiative comes amidst recent U.S. and Canadian
reports highlighting the need for an overarching strategy, enhanced interagency
coordination, and adequate funding for Great Lakes restoration and protection
“Our governors are ideally positioned to spearhead the development of restoration
priorities and, subsequently, a restoration plan,” said Commission Chair
Sam Speck, who is also director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
“The Great Lakes Commission and Sea Grant are well-suited to work with our
many stakeholders to identify needs and the scientific basis for them.”
A plea to “Restore the Greatness” was first issued by the Great Lakes Commission
two years ago with the inaugural release of its Great Lakes Program to Ensure
Environmental and Economic Prosperity. Endorsed by the Commission’s eight
member states, the document presents legislative, policy and appropriations
priorities addressing seven goals: cleaning up toxic hotspots; shutting the
door on invasive species; controlling nonpoint source pollution; restoring
and conserving wetlands and critical coastal habitat; ensuring the sustainable
use of our water resources; strengthening our decision support capability;
and enhancing the commercial and recreational value of our waterways. Together
with a number of other regional and jurisdiction-specific strategies, including
the U.S. Policy Committee’s Great Lakes Strategy 2002, it will help to inform
and advance the large-scale, ecosystem restoration priorities development
and planning effort.
The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Samuel W. Speck (Ohio), 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 LakesSt. 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 Québec
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.
The National Sea Grant College Program encourages the wise stewardship of
our marine resources through research, education, outreach and technology
transfer. Sea Grant is a partnership between the nation’s universities and
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that began in 1966,
when the U.S. Congress passed the National Sea Grant College Program Act.