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GLIN==> Cleveland events to showcase sustainable use



Title:
Contact: Mike Donahue, mdonahue@glc.org, 734-971-9135
Conference programs, other information at: www.glc.org/meeting

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft to keynote

Cleveland events to showcase sustainable use issues, opportunities

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Great Lakes restoration, protection and sustainable use will be the focal point for two major regional events to be held in early May in Cleveland, Ohio. The 2004 Semiannual Meeting of the Great Lakes Commission, with a theme of “Restoring the Greatness of our Freshwater Seas!” is set for May 3-4 at the Sheraton Cleveland City Centre Hotel. It will be followed immediately by the Actions Toward a Sustainable Great Lakes conference, an event organized by some 26 partner agencies and organizations, May 4-6 at the same location.

The Great Lakes Commission meeting will feature a special session focusing on the just-released report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, a major initiative expected to have broad implications for management of the nation's ocean coasts and freshwater resources. Dr. Paul Sandifer, a member of that commission, will present report recommendations, and a distinguished panel of regional leaders will respond. 

The Commission meeting will also feature policy discussions and actions, including consideration of a new Five Year Strategic Plan and policy resolutions on topics including aquatic nuisance species control initiatives; sediment reduction needs in the basin; drinking water security; groundwater research and monitoring to enhance decisionmaking; and maintenance dredging requirements. Updates on current policy matters, including Great Lakes Legacy Act implementation and the U.S. EPA’s proposed “sewage blending” policy, will be addressed as well.

“We are delighted to host this event and extend a warm welcome to our entire membership and many partners,” said Sam Speck, chair of the Great Lakes Commission and director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “It is most fitting that we meet in a great city on a Great Lake to discuss, and act on, our restoration, protection and sustainable use needs.”

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, will keynote the Actions Toward a Sustainable Great Lakes conference, also being held at the Sheraton Cleveland City Centre Hotel. He will be joined by dozens of additional speakers – drawn from the region's elected leadership, policymakers, scientists and opinion leaders – addressing key policy issues and opportunities of the day. 

Session topics include water use and management; habitat and wetlands; water quality; toxic hotspots; aquatic invasive species; human health; habitat and wetlands; sustainable waterways for commercial and recreational activity; and research and decision support. The conference focus is on participant dialogue, and on  identifying next steps in our collective quest for sustainability.

Participants will also enjoy a great evening at Cleveland's Great Lakes Science Center, complete with a reception, dinner and opportunity to tour the Great Lakes exhibits. Primary sponsors, complementing the work of the more than two dozen conference partners, include the Great Lakes Commission and the Buffalo District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Participants at these events will include senior officials from all Great Lakes states and provinces, and leadership from federal agencies, tribal authorities, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and business and industry. The events are open to the public and a discounted registration fee applies to all who register for both.

Programs and registration information are available online at www.glc.org/meeting or by contacting the Great Lakes Commission at 734-971-9135. Registration fees will be waived for those with valid media credentials, subject to advance request.

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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.