Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control
The Great Lakes Basin Program is a U.S. federal-state partnership designed to improve
and protect Great Lakes water quality through erosion and sediment control. The Basin
Program was established in 1990 when the U.S. Congress appropriated start-up funds
for program activities, including a competitive grants program to support unique and
innovative demonstration projects to control erosion and reduce sedimentation in the
Great Lakes basin. In 2002, the Great Lakes Commission, working with the Great
Lakes Congressional delegation, was successful in gaining authorization of the Great
Lakes Basin Program under the reauthorized Farm Bill.
The goal of the Great Lakes Basin Program is to protect and improve water quality in
the Great Lakes by reducing soil erosion and controlling sedimentation. The program
accomplishes this goal through its demonstration grants program, information and
education activities, technology transfer and professional assistance. Support for the
Great Lakes Basin Program is provided by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS). Funding for the Basin Program in FY 2007 was not directed by
Congress and USDA has the decisionmaking authority as to whether to fund the
program for this year. The Commission has been discussing FY 2007 funding needs
with USDA and a funding decision is expected soon.
The Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Task Force, one of two Great Lakes Commission appointed Task Forces, oversees
the Great Lakes Basin Program. Commission staff working through the Task Force met in Dundee, MI in November
2006 and issued an announcement for the annual request for proposals (RFP) in December 2006 for the 2007 program
year grants. The 2007program included large-scale and small-scale grants. One hundred and seventeen applications
were received by the March 2007 deadline. Because FY 2007 programmatic support has not yet been secured, the final
review of proposals was put on hold pending a response from USDA regarding funding.
Through 2006, the Great Lakes Basin Program has supported 389 projects totaling more than $14 million. The state-bystate
summary of grants is included as Attachment 1.
This is the beginning of the ninth year of publishing Keeping it on the Land, the newsletter of the Great Lakes Basin
Program that serves Great Lakes soil erosion and sediment control interests. To date, 34 editions have been published.
Additionally, the Commission manages a listserv for the soil erosion and water conservation community in the Great
Lakes basin. The Great Lakes Basin Program Annual Report for Program Year 2006 has been completed and presented
in the December issue of the Keeping it on the Land. All newsletters are available through the Commission office or
online at: www.glc.org/basin.
Staff also continues to provide administrative and programmatic support to the National Association of Conservation
Districts (NACD) Great Lakes Committee which meets two times per year. The most recent meeting was held March
5, 6, and 7, 2007, in Washington DC in conjunction with the Great Lakes Commission’s meeting.
For more information contact: Gary Overmier - firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Lakes Tributary Modeling Program
In 1998, the Great Lakes Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers entered into a cooperative agreement to
support the development of sediment transport models for tributaries to the Great Lakes that discharge to federal
navigation channels or Areas of Concern (AOCs). These models are designed to serve as tools for watershed planning
and to assist state and local resource agencies in evaluating alternatives for soil conservation and sediment reduction. By
supporting state and local measures that will reduce or prevent the loading of sediments and pollutants to tributaries,
this work is helping to reduce the need and costs for dredging and maintenance of navigation channels and harbors.
The program also supports other local and regional efforts such as actions to de-list Great Lakes AOCs, Total
Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) evaluations, resource management initiatives, and restoration projects.
Since program inception, the Corps has completed model development at 14 tributaries. Many of these projects have
resulted in the development of detailed, location-specific models for small watersheds or portions of larger watersheds
and have required local stakeholders to have specific technical skills, training and expertise to be able to run the model
and interpret its results correctly. However, future project work under this program has begun to shift to include the
development of simpler web-based tools that can continue to support watershed planning at smaller tributaries and subbasins.
The Burns Ditch/Trail Creek project in Indiana was the first project to be completed in this manner. These new
web-based models will still include site-specific information and will be accessible to and usable by a larger audience
w ithin each watershed.
To assist the Corps in identifying priority tributaries for future project work under this program, Commission staff have
recently begun to develop a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based tool which will enable program partners to
prioritize over 100 eligible tributaries within the basin based on various parameters, identified needs and available
resources. The program website, designed to keep model users and stakeholders informed of project work, has recently
undergone a complete revision by Commission staff. As additional detail is added, the new site will include up-to-date
information on each of the completed and ongoing modeling projects as well as other helpful resources for soil erosion
and sediment control professionals and the general public. This new site is available at www.glc.org/tributary.
For more information contact: Laura Kaminski - email@example.com or Tom Crane - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Control
The Great Lakes Commission continues to work on aquatic invasive species (AIS) issues by providing staff support to
the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species as well as on a project specific level. The following AIS related
activities have been conducted since the 2006 Semiannual Meeting.
Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species Initiatives
Meetings: The fall meeting of the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) was held December 13-14,
2006 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The meeting agenda, action items and summary can be found online, through the Panel
website, at: www.glc.org/ans/panel.html#glpmeet. Rapid response planning, including early detection and monitoring,
provided the main focus of the meeting and presentations were offered on federal, regional and state initiatives
addressing these issues. Other noteworthy topics covered included Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS); the Great
Lakes Panel Operational Guidance document; and revisions to the Great Lakes Aquatic Invasions publication. The spring
Panel meeting is scheduled for May 10-11, 2007 in Erie, Pennsylvania at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at
Presque Isle. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the spring meeting of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task
Force, scheduled for May 8-10, with an all-day session taking place on May 9 on ANS State Management Plans: Great
Lakes Regional Perspectives. The all-day session will provide the Great Lakes states an opportunity to address the ANS
Task Force regarding the progress and obstacles of state management planning for aquatic invasive species.
Panel Committee support: Staff has worked with the Executive Committee of the Panel to develop and finalize the
Great Lakes Panel’s Operational Guidance document. The final document is available online at:
www.glc.org/ans/panel.html#guide. The guidance document will serve in formalizing the conduct of the Great Lakes
Panel, ultimately helping to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Panel as a multijurisdictional entity to advance
AIS prevention and control programs on a regional basis. Staff has supported each of the standing committees in their
development of work plans and priorities documents. Staff worked with the Research Coordination Committee to
develop materials related to the Research Coordination Committee’s Aquatic Invasive Research Priorities Document, available
online at: www.glc.org/ans/panel.html#committees and Priority Species List. In addition, staff aided the Policy
Coordination Committee in the development and distribution of a recommendation for the ANS Task Force
encouraging the Task Force, through their leadership capacity, to support authorization and funding of the aquatic
nuisance dispersal barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The recommendation, submitted to the ANS Task
Force in January 2007, is available online at: www.glc.org/ans/panel.html#recommendations. It is noteworthy that this
recommendation was included as an attachment to the Great Lakes Commission Congressional letter advocating for
funding for the dispersal barrier with the intent to inform Congress of the broad base of support among the Panel
membership for long-term operation of the dispersal barrier.
Great Lakes Commission AIS Project Activities
ANS Update (Volume 13, No. 1): This upcoming issue of the ANS Update will include an article authored by Gary
Whelan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, addressing the topic of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS).
Expected publication of this issue is May 2007.
Great Lakes Aquatic Invasions booklet: Staff completed work on the development of a comprehensive publication:
Great Lakes Aquatic Invasions. This new full-color publication was developed as part of the Commission’s ongoing
efforts to raise awareness and understanding of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes region. The 14-page booklet
provides summaries of the history and global movements of AIS; ecological and economic impacts in the Great Lakes;
common vectors by which AIS are introduced and spread, along with case studies of species associated with those
vectors; model strategies for AIS prevention and control; policy developments; and future directions of AIS
management. An extensive list of AIS-related web sites is provided as well. The Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Invasive
Species was closely involved in developing the booklet. Funding was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, Great Lakes National Program Office, with additional support from the U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Region.
The publication is also available online at www.glc.org/ans/aquatic-invasions. Print copies may be ordered at
State ANS Management Planning: The project, A Collaborative Approach to Advance Implementation of State Management
Plans for Prevention and Control of ANS in the Great Lakes Region, has continued to provide a valuable opportunity to
support state ANS management planning efforts. Through a series of state-specific workshops funded by the National
Oceanic Atmospheric Administration National Sea Grant Program, this project has facilitated collaboration between
the Great Lakes Commission staff and representatives from the Sea Grant programs and natural resource agencies in
the Great Lakes states in an effort to advance the development and implementation of ANS state management plans
(SMPs). State-specific SMP workshops have been successfully conducted in six Great Lakes states: Wisconsin,
Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. The culmination of this project will be an all-day session of the
ANS Task Force spring meeting in May 2007 showcasing state management plans in the Great Lakes region with a
focus on successes and obstacles in state management planning. The session will bring together the project partners
and the ANS Task Force to strategize ideas for improving and promoting the implementation of state management
plans, including collaboration across jurisdictional lines. Materials and details on the outcomes of the SMP project,
including workshop agendas, presentations and summaries are posted as they become available on the project website
For more information on AIS-related activities contact: Katherine Glassner-Shwayder - email@example.com.
Great Lakes Science Vessel Coordination
Great Lakes science vessels are an important part of U.S. and Canadian research and monitoring efforts designed to
protect the quality of the Great Lakes ecosystem. They support a wide range of research and monitoring activities
related to the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the largest freshwater system in the world. Demand for
scientific data has continued to increase while funding for research and monitoring has been reduced, prompting
research managers to seek better ways to coordinate the use of these critical resources.
Since 1997, individuals representing science, management and vessel operations interests from both the U.S. and
Canada have met annually to provide input on developing a coordinated approach to the management and operations
of Great Lakes science vessels. One of the recommendations from the first workshop in 1997 was to annually convene
a Great Lakes Science Vessel Workshop to provide a forum for continued discussion of important issues and to gauge
project progress. Recent workshops have focused primarily on vessel operations issues.
The Great Lakes Commission has worked with a project steering committee to plan and convene the annual
workshops. In addition to these annual workshops, a science vessel coordination website provides information on the
Great Lakes science vessel fleet and other important issues of interest to scientists, managers and operators. It includes
features such as a jobs pages, ship listings, information on shipyards and suppliers, and additional links to other
organizations. Individual vessel web-pages are linked directly to the website. The website can be accessed through the
following address: www.canamglass.org.
The 11th annual workshop was held January 24-26, 2007, in Traverse City, Michigan in conjunction with the Industry
Days conference of the Great Lakes Captain’s Association. The 12th annual workshop will again be held in conjunction
with the Industry Days conference on January 14-18, 2008, at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and the Holiday Inn
West Bay in Traverse City, Michigan.
For more information on the Science Vessel Coordination project contact: Tom Crane - firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Lakes Regional Water Use Database
The Commission continues to serve as the repository for the Regional Water Use Database established by the Great
Lakes states and provinces to fulfill one of the key requirements of the Great Lakes Charter. The database was
established by the Great Lakes states and provinces in 1988, to provide a uniform, consistent base of data of water
withdrawals, diversions and consumptive uses for nine categories of water use in the Great Lakes basin. Water use data
are provided to the Commission on an annual basis. These data are then compiled with reports provided to the
jurisdictions to assist them in the conduct of their water resources planning and management activities under the Great
Lakes Charter and Charter Annex. The annual reports for 2003 and 2004 have been completed and will soon be
available online on the Commission’s website: www.glc.org/wateruse/database.
For more information on the Water Use Database contact: Tom Crane - email@example.com