Commission backs ecological separation as key strategy to block Asian carp
The eight member states of the Great Lakes Commission, along with associate members Ontario and Québec, have called on Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to embrace a clear goal of ecological separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds in the battle to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.
A resolution approved unanimously by the Commission at its recent semiannual meeting in Washington, D.C. asks Congress to provide the Corps with authority and substantial resources to complete the study of ecological separation – defined as prevention of the movement of invasive species between the watersheds – and to accelerate completion of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal portion of the study to September 2011.
The resolution also calls for accelerating the timetable for full operation of the Asian carp barrier system on the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal and to establish structural measures to prevent the inadvertent introduction of Asian carp from floodwaters of the Des Plaines River into the canal, and ultimately the Great Lakes.
To read the full text of the carp resolution, and view images and related news from the Commission’s 2010 Semiannual Meeting and Great Lakes Day in Washington events, visit www.glc.org/about/glcmeetings.html.
Contact: Tim Eder, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposed legislation would authorize Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in law
Legislation recently introduced in Congress would formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and engage the states in an advisory structure to guide it. The “Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act” would also reauthorize the U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO), and the Great Lakes Legacy Act program, which has removed nearly one million cubic yards of toxic sediments from the Great Lakes.
Co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate, S. 3073, included Senators Levin (D-MI), Stabenow (D-MI), Voinovich (R-OH), Klobuchar (D-MN), Brown (D-OH), Franken (D-MN) and Durbin (D-IL). For the House bill, H.R. 4755, co-sponsors included Representatives Dingell (D-MI), Ehlers (R-MI), Kirk (R-IL) and Slaughter (D-NY).
The GLRI emerged in 2009 in President Barack Obama’s FY 2010 budget with a proposed $475 million appropriation, and was subsequently approved by Congress at that level. The EPA recently announced an action plan for the GLRI that would commit $2.2 billion to the program over its five-year lifespan.
Under the proposed legislation, a two-tiered advisory body to the EPA would be established, comprised of a “Great Lakes Leadership Council” of federal agencies, states, tribes and local governmental units, and a “Great Lakes Management Council” including representatives of the above governmental groups, plus representation of the Great Lakes Commission, the International Joint Commission, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, industry, environment, agriculture and the science/academic community.
The Senate bill has been referred to the Environment and Public Works committee and the House bill to the Transportation and Infrastructure committee. Contact: Matt Doss, email@example.com.
Upcoming meeting to address Corps’ new dredged material management plan
New, more sustainable approaches to managing dredged material in the Great Lakes will be the focus of the upcoming annual meeting of the Great Lakes Dredging Team and its working committees. The meeting, under the theme “New Strategies, New Opportunities,” will be held May 20-21, 2010, at the Hilton Garden Inn and Gateway Conference Center in downtown Cleveland and focus largely on the Great Lakes System Dredged Material Management Long-Term Strategic Plan, recently released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The plan can be accessed at the GL Dredging Team’s website, www.glc.org/dredging. The meeting will include discussion on states’ policies regarding open-lake placement of dredged material, and other navigation dredging-related issues.
The meeting will convene four new GLDT working committees addressing: Open-Lake Placement of Dredged Material, Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) Management, Dredging Environmental Windows, and Beneficial Use of Dredged Material. The $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) will be discussed as a potential resource in advancing sustainable dredged material management practices. Contact: Dave Knight, firstname.lastname@example.org.