Great Lakes Commission elects new chair; tackles climate resiliency, infrastructure, mercury contamination, and algal blooms at 2021 Annual Meeting

Oct 14, 2021 | News and Announcements

Ann Arbor, Mich. –The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) passed resolutions expressing its priorities on climate resiliency, infrastructure investment, mercury contamination, and nutrient-driven algal blooms at its 2021 Annual Meeting, held online this week.

At the meeting, the GLC also elected a new chair and vice chair and signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to advance mutual goals for Great Lakes conservation, protection, sustainable use and development. The MOU recognizes the GLC’s unique ability to ensure that scientific information is brought to policymakers and managers in a timely and effective manner, as well as engage its state and provincial membership to identify priority areas of scientific inquiry.

“The Great Lakes Commission is committed to bringing its binational membership together to work on real solutions for the biggest issues facing the lakes, in collaboration with our partners at the federal, tribal, state, provincial and local level,” said outgoing GLC Chair Sharon M. Jackson, Deputy General Counsel to Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “The resolutions passed today speak to the enthusiasm of our party states and provinces for this difficult but rewarding work. I am grateful to our commissioners, observers, and friends for their partnership with the GLC and contributions to our meeting.”

Commissioners elected Todd L. Ambs, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as its chair and Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, as its vice chair.

“I am excited to serve as chair after rejoining the Wisconsin delegation to the Great Lakes Commission two years ago,” said Ambs. “As a longtime advocate for the lakes, I know that the GLC is a terrific forum for collaboration. I am particularly looking forward to working with our commissioners and partners as we draft our strategic plan for 2022 – 2027.” 

During the meeting, the GLC assembled expert panels on nearshore nutrient reductions, mercury contamination in the Great Lakes ecosystem, and building resilient communities in the basin. Commissioners and guests also heard from the U.S. EPA’s Office of Water on water infrastructure and other priorities and USGS on its recently released Great Lakes Science Forum report, which assessed data gaps and science needs across the Great Lakes ecosystem. Commissioners also recognized Thomas Crane, the GLC’s long-serving deputy director, with an honorary resolution of recognition and appreciation for 35 years of service.

Video of meeting sessions will be available online in the near future. In March, the GLC will host annual Great Lakes Day events in Washington, D.C., and it will next convene in June for its semiannual meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Great Lakes Commission, led by chair Todd L. Ambs, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, is a binational government agency established in 1955 to protect the Great Lakes and the economies and ecosystems they support. Its membership includes leaders from the eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes basin. The GLC recommends policies and practices to balance the use, development, and conservation of the water resources of the Great Lakes and brings the region together to work on issues that no single community, state, province, or nation can tackle alone. Learn more at


For media inquiries, please contact Beth Wanamaker, [email protected].

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