Support for Corps Habitat Initiative
In December, 2006 the Commission was awarded a contract to help support the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers’ Habitat Initiative (CHI). The CHI aims to develop four
main products: 1) a funding data base for habitat protection and restoration; 2) an
inventory of current and potential habitat restoration and protection projects, 3) a suite
of criteria for the Corps to evaluate potential projects; 4) an implementation plan that
applies the first three products. The Commission is serving as a subcontractor to Public
Sector Consultants of Lansing MI—the principal contractor—in support of item 2
above. The Commission’s role is two-fold: 1) create a data base to house an inventory
of habitat restoration and protection projects across the great Lakes region; and 2)
conduct a series of outreach meetings to individual states to inform them of the CHI,
demonstrate how to enter projects into the data base through a web-based project form
and encourage state participation.
Staff have completed four of eight state workshops as of to date (PA, IL, MI, and MN)
and four more are planned to be completed before the end of May, 2007. Through the
state workshops, GLC staff is compiling feedback on the CHI in general and the habitat
project entry web form. State comments have been incorporated into the web form
where feasible. The initial deadline to submit projects for the Corps is June 15, 2007.
(An FAQ about the state workshops is attached). Non-technical issues and questions
raised at the workshops are being compiled by staff and will be part of the
Commission’s final report for this contract. An overriding issue raised by the states at
the workshops has been the need for some level of assurance that federal agencies (not
just the Corps) will use the data base as part of their funding process for habitat
restoration and protection. V. Pebbles is the project manager. See www.glhi.org.
Cities Investment in Great Lakes Protection and Restoration
This one-year project, awarded by the Joyce Foundation in December 2006, aims to characterize local expenditures
throughout the Great Lakes basin to protect, enhance and restore the Great Lakes. The Commission is the lead, but is
partnering closely with the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (which has a subcontract for this project) to
develop a list of eligible restoration and protection activities in consultation with a group of local experts. A survey will
be developed and administered to local units of government throughout the Great Lakes basin during summer of 2007.
The results of the survey will be analyzed and presented in a final report that documents local investment in Great
Lakes protection and restoration. The final report is expected in late 2007. V. Pebbles is the project manager. For
more information, see www.glc.org/glinvestment.
Joint Project Agreement with NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC)
The focus of the Joint Project Agreement since the last update has been to complete a work plan to carry out a suite of
activities to address regional needs identified in Great Lakes Regional Needs Assessment. The needs assessment
focused on three issue areas: ports/navigation; coastal community development (CCD) and data information
integration and distribution (DIID). The three reports are online at www.glc.org/regionalneeds. Key work plan
V. Pebbles is the project manager. The Join Project Agreement with the NOAA Coastal Service Center extends
through August, 2009.
- enhancing the coastal pages on GLIN;
- establishing mechanisms for enhanced regional coordination among coastal managers and between the coastal
management community and the GLC (e.g., focus groups, a list serv, Great Lakes Day);
- integrating NOAA data and information sources and services with those in the Great Lakes region and
delivering such to regional stakeholders by building on related initiatives, such as RDX data exchange and
- planning and conducting a scoping workshop to examine the benefits of coastal infrastructure and potential
strategies for a regional response to maintain and protect that infrastructure, and
- training on a Habitat Priority Planner—a GIS-based tool that was originally developed for Lake St. Clair, but
has been updated to apply to any geography (will help support habitat recommendations of the GLRC).
Sustainable Land Use:
Great Lakes Smart Growth Briefing Paper and Jurisdiction Profiles
In preparation for the 2006 Semiannual meeting, staff prepared a draft briefing paper on status and trends in
Great Lakes state planning and smart growth. To develop this paper, staff prepared profiles of individual state
policies and programs. At the 2006 Semiannual meeting, staff was directed to develop profiles of the Great Lakes
provinces. Among the findings are that 27 percent of the Great Lakes Commission membership is from agencies
that administer a state land use program. Staff is finalizing this paper as part of a general issue brief to be
published shortly. This paper will also be presented by B. Lameka as part of a panel on land use in the Great
Lakes at IAGLR 2007. More information is online at www.glc.org/meeting/sgprofiles
State Land Use Roundtables: The state land use roundtable series engages GLC staff in planning and
conducting of land use roundtables in individual states, as endorsed by a Commission resolution in 2001. Each
roundtable is crafted to build on past GLC work (multi-stakeholder report and resolution) and recent state
initiatives and accomplishments to advance and link urban revitalization and open space protection. Funding has
been provided by U.S. EPA to support 6 roundtables; 5 have been completed as of this update:
Planning is underway to hold a New York roundtable on September 18, 2007 in Albany. V. Pebbles is project manager.
Great Lakes Sustainable Land Use Web Site
Staff continue to maintain Great Lakes Sustainable Land Use–a GLIN “sister” web site that features news articles
related to land use from around the region that are updated daily and links to relevant state, federal and regional web
Note: See other program area updates for complementary land use projects and activities.
V. Pebbles continues to represent the Commission on the SOLEC Steering Committee. SOLEC 2006 took place
November 1-3, 2006 at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the theme of “chemical integrity.” Pebbles
served on a committee to select success stories and emceed the awards ceremony for that.
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Review
Commission staff spanning multiple program areas has participated on various working groups set up as part of the
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement review process. Most of that work wrapped up by the end of calendar year
2006. Commission staff continues to monitor progress of the GLWQA review through existing mechanisms (e.g. BEC
Great Lakes Dredging Team
The Great Lakes Dredging Team (GLDT) will be participating in a review led by the National Dredging Team (NDT)
of the National Dredging Policy and the 2003 NDT Action Agenda to reaffirm the adequacy of the national policy and
agenda in support in support of the U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS). The project was initiated by the federal
interagency cabinet-level Committee on the Marine Transportation System. The primary activity for the GLDT will be
to communicate with regional and local stakeholders, solicit their review and comments, and organize the input into a
coordinated regional response by the end of June. Final recommendations at the national level are scheduled to be
completed by the end of the year.
GLDT staff is also in final stages of development of an illustrated brochure outlining dredging needs in Great Lakes
harbors and navigational channels, the criticality of timely and environmentally responsible dredging in the Lakes to the
region’s marine transportation system, and the overall importance of the issue to the North American economy.
Other upcoming GLDT activity includes:
- Reconvening the Windows Advisory Team comprised of experts from multiple disciplines and geographic
areas in the Great Lakes to continue work toward a scientifically sound and cost effective process for
determining environmental dredging windows in the Lakes, and one that one that would provide maximum
value for the states;
- Hosting a delegation from the Chinese Dredging Association June 6 to share information and education on
beneficial use of dredged material, and
- Continuing exploration of a possible conference or workshop bringing together watershed managers in the
Great Lakes basin, dredging practitioners, port interests and other appropriate stakeholders to discuss potential
new approaches to regional sediment management.
Great Lakes Recreational Boating Economic Benefits Study
The good news is that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, after a lengthy review process, has 1) posted the final draft of
the study on its Detroit District website and 2) allowed the Great Lakes Commission to move forward with plans to
release study findings. This study documents the regional impact of Great Lakes recreational boating in its entirety,
including boater spending patterns and volumes, the contributions to state economies by marinas and charter fishing
operators, and the dollars and jobs generated by Great Lakes watercraft manufacturers. A primary motivation for the
study was to demonstrate, through documentation of economic benefits, the federal interest in maintaining authorized
recreational harbors in the Great Lakes.
The full draft of the study can be accessed at the Detroit District website www.lre.usace.army.mil, using the following
path: Projects and Studies/Planning Studies/John Glenn Great Lakes Basin Program/Recreational Boating. See also
within this briefing book an executive report of key findings.
Soo Lock Expansion Project
As of this date, a Limited Reevaluation Report (LRR) revisiting initial benefit-cost ratio calculations for the project has
been forwarded to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) John Paul Woodley with a recommendation to
proceed with construction despite the fact that the benefit to cost ratio is below equity. The recommendation to
proceed was made by USACE staff on the basis of national security and the unacceptable risk of having only one large
lock at the Soo. The LRR and is still awaiting Woodley’s action. In Congress, the Water Resources Development Act of
2007 was recently passed in the House with language calling for full federal funding of the project which would add a
second lock large enough for 1,000-foot class vessels, which represent a majority of the U.S.-flag carrying capacity on
the Great Lakes. TSD staff has been active in advocacy efforts supporting this WRDA provision, specifically advocating
for the House language to be included in a Senate WRDA bill. The Commission is also working toward finalization of a
Project Cooperation Agreement with the Corps formalizing the Commission=s role as non-federal sponsor of the