Make plans to join the GLC in Québec City October 6-7
Québec City is the location of the Great Lakes Commission’s 2008 Annual Meeting and the host site has added significance this year as the city is celebrating its 400th anniversary. The meeting will be held Oct. 6-7 at the Hôtel Château Laurier located in the heart of the city, close to Old Québec and the Québec Parliament.
The agenda will include sessions on the economic impacts of aquatic invasive species. Also featured will be a keynote address on the 400-year-old Québec-Great Lakes connection, a presentation on Québec's investment in wind energy and a dinner cruise on the St. Lawrence River.
Register online now at https://www.glc.org/meeting/register1.html! Hotel reservations can be made via the toll-free number 1-800-463-4453 (a credit card number is required) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants must mention event number #230237 when they make reservations. A special per night rate of $154 plus tax is available to meeting attendees for the nights of Oct. 5 and 6. Additional nights are available at a rate of $179 plus tax. To ensure a room, please make hotel reservations no later than Friday, Sept. 5. After that date reservations will be accepted at current rates according to availability. Contact: Tim Eder, email@example.com.
Great Lakes Commission 2007 annual report focuses on "Our Changing Lakes"
"Our Changing Lakes" is the theme of the recently released Great Lakes Commission 2007 annual report. The theme refers to the challenge of protecting a critical freshwater resource that is constantly undergoing natural and man-made change. It summarizes GLC 2007 activities in the areas of legislative advocacy, aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity, coastal and terrestrial habitat, economy and society, water quality and supply, and information management.
The 20-page, full color report also reflects the outcome of an extensive strategic planning effort undertaken by the Commission in 2007, which produced a work plan emphasizing four core strengths of the organization: communication and education; information integration and reporting; facilitation and consensus building; and policy coordination and advocacy. Contact: Christine Manninen, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commission responds to EPA proposed rules on vessel discharges
In formal comments submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in July, the Great Lakes Commission acknowledged "appreciation" for the agency’s efforts to better manage discharges incidental to operation of commercial vessels under the Clean Water Act, including ballast water. But it stressed that the ballast measures outlined in a proposed permit process -- essentially open ocean ballast exchange which is already required -- does not go far enough to provide effective protection of the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species (AIS).
Comments were being accepted until Aug. 1 on the EPA’s proposed permit process, which was mandated following a series of federal court decisions disallowing a 35-year exemption for vessels from requiring discharge permits under the Clean Water Act. Following a comment review period, the nationwide permitting program is expected to go into effect Sept. 30, 2008.
"Ballast water exchange is an important intermediate step that will reduce the risk of release of invasive species into the Great Lakes and other ports and water bodies in the United States. However, ballast water exchange alone is not sufficient," stated GLC Executive Director Tim Eder in the Commission’s submittal. "EPA must require ships to treat ballast water using technology that will protect the Great Lakes and other waters from harmful organisms. In the establishment of effluent limits for living organisms in ballast water discharges, the Commission urges EPA to continue working closely with Great Lakes and coastal states and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to develop a numeric standard that is environmentally protective."
The Commission also supported a "re-opener" clause which would establish interim ballast discharge standards that could be made more rigorous as treatment technology improves. Contact: Kathe Glassner-Shwayder, email@example.com.
Michigan Small Harbors Coalition, Great Lakes Dredging Team to hold meetings together
The recently organized Michigan Small Harbors Coalition and the Great Lakes Dredging Team are holding meetings on the same date and location, Sept. 30 at the Doubletree Hotel in Bay City, Mich., to encourage networking and cross-participation between the two groups.
The Coalition, which began organizing in late 2007, aims to represent the interests of smaller ports and harbors in Michigan with critical dredging needs. To date, the group has received 25 signed resolutions of support from harbor communities and advocate organizations, and at least another 19 commercial and shallow draft ports have indicated a likelihood of support. The initiative is being facilitated by Michigan Sea Grant, the Great Lakes Commission and the Michigan Boating Industry Association. More information is available at www.miseagrant.umich.edu/harbors).
The Great Lakes Dredging Team is a partnership of federal and state agencies created to assure that the dredging of U.S. harbors and channels throughout the Great Lakes, connecting channels and tributaries is conducted in a timely and cost-effective manner while meeting environmental protection, restoration and enhancement goals. The Dredging Team, which is coordinated by the Great Lakes Commission, will meet from 9 a.m. to noon and the Small Harbors Coalition will meet from 1-5 p.m. following a joint lunch. Contact: Dave Knight, firstname.lastname@example.org.