Holiday Greetings from the Great Lakes Commission!
Register now for the 2008 Semiannual Meeting and Great Lakes Day in Washington!
The 2008 Semiannual Meeting of the Great Lakes Commission will be held in Washington, D.C. this year, immediately prior to Great Lakes Day in Washington. Holding these two events together, on Feb. 26-28, will bring a heightened Great Lakes presence to the U.S. capital to help lay out the region's congressional priorities for the coming year. Online registration and additional information are available at www.glc.org/meeting. Contact: Tim Eder, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report considers impacts of increased corn, ethanol production
A report looking at the potential impacts of increased corn production to meet the demand for ethanol has been released by the Great Lakes Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "The Potential Impacts of Increased Corn Production for Ethanol in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Region," looks at current trends in corn-based ethanol production and the potential environmental and economic impacts of converting additional lands to raising corn. The report was developed by the Great Lakes Commission with funding from the Corps' Great Lakes Tributary Modeling Program. It is available on the Tributary Modeling Program's web site at www.glc.org/tributary/pubs/documents/EthanolPaper121807FINAL.pdf. Contact: Tom Crane, email@example.com.
Great Lakes Observing System begins implementation
The Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) has received funding to begin work on four initial projects to be pursued under the developing initiative. They are: 1) development of a hydrodynamic model of the Huron-Erie corridor (St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River). Among other uses, the model will help protect drinking water supplies by predicting the flow of oil and chemical spills in the industrialized corridor; 2) a "HarborView" prototype providing timely information on weather and water conditions to meet the needs of recreational boaters, commercial and recreational fishermen, and commercial navigation interests; 3) development of a Great Lakes Modeling and Assessment Center (GLMAC) to ensure effective integration of data modeling, collection, management and dissemination under GLOS; and 4) development of an offshore observing systems implementation plan to guide future developments in data collection on the lakes. The Great Lakes Commission is providing coordination services for GLOS, one of 11 nodes of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. For more information, see www.glos.us. Contact: Roger Gauthier, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congress restores funding for Great Lakes Basin Program
The Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control is on track to resume grants for local conservation projects in 2008, after Congress restored funding for the program in the omnibus appropriations bill passed this week (see story below, under Advocacy and Legislation). President Bush is expected to sign the bill, which includes $430,000 in funding for the program, which was unfunded in the FY2007 budget. The funding means that grants will be made for a limited number of projects that submitted applications under the 2007 cycle. The program awards grants to local conservation projects aimed at improving water quality in the Great Lakes basin. See www.glc.org/basin or contact Gary Overmier, email@example.com.
Great Lakes Panel looks at risk assessments
The Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species held its fall meeting Nov. 28-29 in Ypsilanti, Mich. The topic of risk assessment - evaluating non-native aquatic species with the potential to become invasive and the vectors by which they might be introduced into the Great Lakes - was a particular focus of the meeting, with presentations addressing the U.S. trade in live organisms, Canadian trade in live freshwater fish, screening potential invasive organisms and overall risk assessment. The meeting also considered rapid response initiatives aimed at stemming the spread of newly introduced invaders, including efforts to keep the VHS virus out of Lake Superior. The Commission provides coordination and support services to the Great Lakes Panel, which advises the national ANS Task Force. See www.glc.org/ans/panel.html or contact Katherine Glassner-Shwayder, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dredging Team hears concerns of navigation stakeholders
The Great Lakes Dredging Team held its fall meeting Nov. 27 at the Detroit Metro Airport. The meeting was held in conjunction with a semiannual gathering of navigation stakeholders organized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The meeting provided an opportunity for team members to hear directly from customers of the Great Lakes maritime industry regarding economic hardships they are experiencing due to low water levels and dredging backlogs, which affect their ability to send and receive bulk goods. The Great Lakes Commission provides coordination and support services to the Dredging Team, which is a partnership of state and federal agencies working together to address Great Lakes dredging issues. See www.glc.org/dredging or contact Dave Knight, email@example.com.
Coast Guard commandant to speak at Marine Community Day event
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen will be the keynote speaker at the 2008 Admiral's Dinner and Marine Community Day, Feb. 20-21 in Cleveland, Ohio. The annual events bring together representatives of the Great Lakes maritime community to consider issues of common interest, including ballast issues, aids to navigation, dredging, icebreaking, marine air emissions, coastal infrastructure and more. The event is sponsored by Great Lakes Seaway Review, with planning assistance provided by the Great Lakes Commission. See www.hhpweb.com/sitenav.aspx?CompanyID=8355 or contact Dave Knight, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Lakes Compact advances in state legislatures
The approaching end of the year has brought a flurry of activity on the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Water Resources Compact in state legislatures around the region. Implementing legislation was favorably reported out of committee in both the Michigan House and Senate in early December, and was introduced in the Ohio House on Dec. 18. In Pennsylvania, Compact legislation in the House passed its first consideration on Dec. 12 with no opposing votes; three considerations are required. Compact legislation was also introduced in the Indiana Senate in late November and is expected to be taken up by the full General Assembly when it reconvenes in January. For updates, visit the Council of Great Lakes Governors web site at www.cglg.org .
Advocacy and legislation
Congress has passed and President Bush is expected to sign an omnibus appropriations bill that includes funding for a variety of Great Lakes programs. The bill, which passed both the House and Senate this week, includes funds for several of the Great Lakes Commission's leading legislative priorities for 2007, including more than $9 million for the invasive species barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and modest funding to resume conservation grants under the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control (see story above). Others include $689 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, $34.45 million for the Great Lakes Legacy Act, $841,000 for the Great Lakes Tributary Modeling Program and $430,000 for Remedial Action Plan (RAP) assistance. Contact: Tim Eder, email@example.com
Regional leaders are seeking to ensure that Great Lakes issues are a factor in the 2008 presidential campaign, calling upon all candidates to assert their positions on the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, Great Lakes Compact and other regional issues. Last week, the mayors of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Cities Initiative challenged all presidential candidates to take definitive action on behalf of the Great Lakes, calling upon them to expressly support implementation of the Regional Collaboration Strategy and the Compact, and for Congress and the state legislatures to do their part as well. The move followed a call by the Council of Great Lakes Governors in early November for all candidates to publicly support both initiatives. Given the swing state status of Great Lakes states in the upcoming election, candidates' positions on Great Lakes issues could be a key factor in deciding the outcome.
Featured project: Michigan Statewide Public Advisory Council (SPAC)
The Great Lakes Commission provides support staff for the Michigan SPAC, whose membership is made up of representatives of the state's 14 Areas of Concern (AOCs), as designated under the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The SPAC was established to facilitate public participation in decisions affecting Michigan AOCs and to facilitate public participation in the development of remedial action plans (RAPs). The SPAC coordinates support for and communication among local public advisory councils in the AOCs, provides training and technical assistance to RAP participants, and advises state and federal agencies and elected officials on priorities for the statewide AOC program. For more information, see www.glc.org/spac or contact Matt Doss, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Lakes Commission
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A News Briefs archive can be found at www.glc.org/email/archive