Project will yield water management decision support system

Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission has received a $745,000 grant for the first phase of developing a Water Resources Management Decision Support System for the Great Lakes. Supported by the Great Lakes Protection Fund, the two-year project will lay the framework for the data, information and process required to ensure timely and well-informed public policy decisions concerning the use and management of surface and groundwater resources. In so doing, it will support ongoing efforts of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence governors and premiers to develop and implement a management regime to address water withdrawal, consumptive use, diversion and related issues.

A multi-agency, multidisciplinary team of U.S. and Canadian experts has been assembled by the Commission and will direct its efforts in three primary areas:
Status Assessment: Data and information concerning distribution, abundance, interaction and potential threats will be assembled for surface and groundwater resources.

Inventory of Water Withdrawal and Use: The latest available data will be assessed and analyzed as it relates to withdrawals, in-stream uses, diversion and consumptive use. It will be characterized by jurisdiction, lake basin and usage category.

Analysis of Ecological Impacts: Review of the scientific literature, complemented by experts’ workshops, will yield a new understanding of the cumulative impacts of water use and withdrawal and how these impacts might be accommodated in a decision support system.

The initiative is application-oriented and products will include a Great Lakes water use web site, updated water use inventories, and information as to how policymakers can include ecological evaluations as a management regime is designed and implemented.

“The Great Lakes Commission welcomes the opportunity to lend its expertise to an issue of overriding concern to the states and provinces of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region,” stated Commission Chair Irene Brooks. “Data, information and analysis must provide the foundation for any water management regime.”

The 17-member project management team is comprised of state, provincial, federal and regional experts in technical and policy aspects of water quantity management. (These individuals are listed below.) The team will hold its initial meeting in late September, initiating an aggressive and ambitious two-year effort. Dr. Michael J. Donahue and Tom Crane of the Great Lakes Commission will serve as project co-directors. Tom Rayburn, also of the Great Lakes Commission, will serve as project manager. A project advisory committee drawn from the larger Great Lakes-St. Lawrence community will support project team and staff efforts.

State/Provincial Team Members
Illinois: Daniel Injerd, Chief, Lake Michigan Management Section, Office of Water Resources, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; 312-793-3123

Indiana: Jim Hebenstreit, Assistant Director, Division of Water, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; 317-232-4163

Michigan: Keith Harrison, Director, Office of Special Environmental Projects, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; 517-335-3666

Minnesota: Kent Lokkesmoe, Director, Division of Waters, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; 651-296-4810

New York: Michael Holt, Environmental Engineer II, Bureau of Water Permits, New York State Department of Environment Conservation; 518-457-9514

Ohio: Richard Bartz, Assistant Chief, Division of Water, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; 614-265-6730

Ontario: David de Launay, Director, Lands and Waters Branch, Ministry of Natural Resources; 705-755-1620

Pennsylvania: Tom Denslinger, Bureau of Watershed Conservation, Water Use Planning Division; 717-772-4048

Quebec: Andre Carpentier, Environment et Faune Quebec, Direction de l’hydraulique; 418-521-3825×7108

Wisconsin: Bruce Baker, Director, Division of Water, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; 608-266-1902

Federal Team Members (U.S. and Canadian)
Environment Canada: Doug Cuthbert, Chief, Conservation and Management Branch, Canada Centre for Inland Waters; 905-336-4713

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Dr. Frank Quinn, Senior Research Hydrologist, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory; 734-741-2255

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Roger Gauthier, Supervisory Hydrologist, Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Branch, Detroit District; 313-226-3054

U.S. Geological Survey: Dr. John Gannon, Science Coordinator, Supervisory Fishery Research Biologist, Biological Resources Division; 734-214-7237

U.S. Geological Survey: James Nicholas, Michigan District Chief, Water Resources Division; 517-887-8906

Regional Team Members
Council of Great Lakes Governors: Jeffrey Edstrom, Senior Policy Director; 312-407-0177

Great Lakes Commission: Dr. Michael J. Donahue, Executive Director; 734-665-9135

For immediate release: August 22, 2000
Contact: Dr. Michael J. Donahue,


The Great Lakes Commission is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials and governors’ appointees from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.