Thursday, July 10, 2008

Levin, Voinovich & Oberstar To Lead Compact Approval Efforts

Jul 9: According to a release from the Great Lakes Council of Governors (GLCG); Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) and Congressman James Oberstar (D- MN) will lead efforts to secure the consent of the U.S. Congress for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Now that the individual states have all approved the Compact, to become law, Congress must now provide its consent. GLCG says that to date, more than 20 members of Congress, including both of the presumptive nominees of the major parties (Senator McCain and Senator Obama) have expressed their support for the Compact.

In December 2005, following a nearly five-year negotiation, the Governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin reached agreement on the Compact. The Compact provides a comprehensive management framework for achieving sustainable water use and resource protection. The eight Great Lakes States reached a similar, good faith, agreement with Ontario and Qu├ębec in 2005, which the Provinces are using to amend their existing water programs for greater regional consistency.

GLCG highlighted the following major points of the Compact: Economic development will be fostered through the sustainable use and responsible management of Basin waters; The States will ensure that authority over Great Lakes water uses is retained in the region; Regional goals and objectives for water conservation and efficiency will be developed, and they will be reviewed every five years; Each State will develop and implement a water conservation and efficiency program; The collection of technical data will be strengthened, and the States will share comparable information, which will improve decision-making by the governments; and There is a strong commitment to continued public involvement in the implementation of the Compact.

GLCG said that as of July 2008, there are at least 41 interstate water compacts that have been entered into by the party States and consented to by the U.S. Congress over a period of decades. 45 States and the District of Columbia currently belong to at least one interstate water compact and many States belong to more than one. These compacts provide an effective means to manage shared water resources consistent with our system of constitutional federalism.

Access a release from the GLCG (
click here). Access the CGLG status of Compact approval website (click here).

Register Now For SOLEC 2008

Jul 10: SOLEC 2008 will be held October 22–23, 2008, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. This year, emphasis will be on “The Nearshore.” In 1996, SOLEC focused on the nearshore lands and waters of the Great Lakes where biological productivity is greatest and where humans have maximum impact. In 2008, the conference will concentrate on what has changed with respect to the nearshore environments since 1996. Additional conditions and issues not evaluated in 1996 will also be addressed.

Presentations during day 1 of SOLEC will focus on the state of the Great Lakes based on indicator assessments and other information about nearshore areas. On day 2, the presentations will highlight information about each Great Lake, the connecting channels (including the Niagara River), and the St. Lawrence River with a focus on the nearshore areas and related issues, such as habitat loss, viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), nutrients and water levels. Breakout sessions will follow the plenary presentations on both days. These afternoon sessions are an opportunity for participants to discuss the information that was presented in the morning as well as to debate more specific issues.

Draft State of the Great Lakes 2009 indicator reports and category assessments will be available in advance of the conference. These reports and assessments are being prepared by various authors from many agencies and organizations in order to assist with assessing the overall state of the Great Lakes. A draft background paper -- The Nearshore Areas of the Great Lakes 2008 -- will also be available in advance of the conference. Links to the State of the Great Lakes 2007 products are available on the registration website.

Access the SOLEC 2008 website for registration information and extensive background materials (click here). Access more information related to State of the Great Lakes Reporting and SOLEC (click here).