Wednesday, July 2, 2008

GLRC Releases Habitat/Wetlands Initiative Progress Report

Jul 1: The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) Executive Committee announced the release of the report, Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Habitat/Wetlands Initiative: A Progress Report and Call to Action. A team of State, Federal, Tribal, City and non-governmental representatives wrote the report to describe progress and to advance the habitat restoration recommendations in the GLRC's December 2005 Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes. As a first step, the Initiative is focused on protecting and restoring 200,000 acres of wetlands in the Great Lakes basin.

The report notes the steps that Federal, State, City, Tribal and non-governmental interests are taking to improve coordination of habitat restoration programs and projects in the Great Lakes basin and describes two new tools that will facilitate collaboration: a habitat projects database and a funding source inventory. The report concludes by issuing a Call to Action that challenges the Great Lakes community to accelerate restoration efforts and to work together to accomplish more than could be achieved by working alone.

In May 2004, a Presidential Executive Order for the Great Lakes was issued that called for increased federal coordination and a Great Lakes Regional Collaboration to develop a strategy for protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. Among the recommendations are goals and actions specific to protect and restore habitat. The report describes recent progress since early 2006 to protect and restore wetlands and other habitat across the Great Lakes basin. The report addresses habitat in general, but focuses on wetlands as a particular habitat that has unique stresses and values, and which has been a focal point for collaboration activity. The report discusses the need for a tool to assess progress toward achieving regional habitat and wetlands goals. It presents the challenges in developing such a tool and summarizes some efforts that can provide building blocks for such a tool.

The report does not provide all of the answers. Rather, it recognizes the critical need to continue the momentum that has begun and offers the “Call to Action” to recognize that partnerships are the cornerstone of this Initiative and that the tools will help support it. The report and call to action set the stage for continued dialogue to achieve the Collaboration’s habitat goals.

Access the Habitat/Wetlands Initiative website for a June 2008 update and link to the 28-page progress report and call to action (
click here).