Great Lakes Commission statement on passing of former U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers

Aug 17, 2017 | News and Announcements

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), released the following statement today upon news that former U.S. Rep Vernon Ehlers (R-MI-3) passed away earlier this week at the age of 83:

“All of us at the Great Lakes Commission are saddened to hear of the passing of Rep. Vern Ehlers – a real champion for the Great Lakes and public servant in the truest sense of the word.

Rep. Ehlers exemplified his personal mantra of “leave it better than you found it,” particularly when it came to protecting and restoring our Great Lakes. He always worked across the aisle on behalf of the environment, especially as the primary sponsor of the critical Great Lakes Legacy Act, which was instrumental in cleaning up the lakes.

In 2010, the GLC was honored to present him with a lifetime achievement award – and a stuffed zebra! – to thank him for his tireless work (and sense of humor) in educating many members of Congress about the difference between zebra mussels and the muscles of zebras. As a scientist and lifelong educator, Rep. Ehlers had a special ability to bring respectability for science and facts to political discourse.

Rep. Ehlers knew that the Great Lakes belong to all of us, and protecting them is a responsibility we must all share. We send our condolences to his friends and family in this difficult time.”

The Great Lakes Commission, led by chairman Jon Allan, director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, is an interstate compact agency established under 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 governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials 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. Learn more at


For questions or media inquiries, please contact Beth Wanamaker,

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