- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
In early July, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration announced a plan to restore and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. Senior collaboration representatives - the EPA Assistant Administrator Benjamin Grumbles, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, Duluth Mayor Herb Bergson, Superior, Wis., Mayor David Ross and Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Chairman Frank Ettawageshik - presented the plan to the public for comment.
Over 1,500 people from government and nongovernmental organizations participated in the six-month effort to draft the strategy. Teams worked on eight critical environmental priorities including aquatic invasive species, habitat conservation and species management, near-shore waters and coastal areas, areas of concern, non-point sources, toxic pollutants, sound information base and representative indicators and sustainability. The reports of these teams form the basis for the draft action plan. They include recommendations for action and focus both on the long-term restoration of the Great Lakes and on the steps that must be taken over the next five years to most effectively achieve results.
The draft strategy still must be endorsed by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration members. Following a 60-day public comment period, including five town-hall style meetings, the collaboration's leadership will consider the draft recommendations and public comments as they develop a final strategy for approval by the collaboration membership. The final strategy is due to be released in Chicago in December 2005. The total cost of this program is estimated at between $18 and $20 billion over a 15-year period.
To read recommendations of the strategy teams and for more information about the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration go to www.epa.gov/grtlakes/collaboration. To comment on the draft strategy, visit www.glrc.us.