Since it was established in 1955 by the Great Lakes Basin Compact, the Great Lakes Commission has worked with its member states and provinces to address issues of common concern, develop shared solutions and collectively advance an agenda to protect and enhance the region’s economic prosperity and environmental health.
The Great Lakes Commission is an interstate compact agency that represents, advises and assists its member states and provinces by fostering dialogue, developing consensus, facilitating collaboration and speaking with a unified voice to advance collective interests and responsibilities to promote economic prosperity and environmental protection and to achieve the balanced and sustainable use of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin water resources.
Our members include the eight Great Lakes states with associate member status for the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Each jurisdiction appoints a delegation of three to five members comprised of senior agency officials, legislators and/or appointees of the governor or premier.
Restoring the Greatness
Since its establishment over 50 years ago, the Great Lakes Commission has been a pioneer in applying principles of sustainability to the development, use and conservation of the natural resources of the Great Lakes basin and St. Lawrence River. The Commission recognizes and promotes the complementarity of environmental protection and economic goals and has built its reputation on an integrated and objective approach to public policy issues and opportunities.
All Commission activities are directed at realizing its vision of a strong and growing economy, a healthy environment, and a high quality of life for all citizens. Three principal functions support this vision:
Communications among the membership and the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence community; Policy research, development and coordination on issues of regional interest; and Advocacy of those positions on which members agree.
The Commission addresses a range of issues involving environmental protection, resource management, transportation and economic development. A committee and task force structure is the primary vehicle for identifying and addressing issues and recommending the adoption of policy positions by the membership. Observer organizations – including U.S. and Canadian federal, regional and tribal governments – participate extensively in Commission activities.