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Great Lakes Regional Collaboration at One Year

The Executive Committee of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration recognizes the first anniversary of the release of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes. We remain firmly committed to safeguarding the Great Lakes - a national treasure - for the benefit of present and future generations.

The Great Lakes constitute the largest surface freshwater system in the world. They are a source of safe drinking water for more than 35 million Americans and many more take advantage of the lakes as a desirable place to live, work and play. Nearly 30% of our nation’s gross domestic product is produced by the Great Lakes States, which includes approximately 60% of all U.S. manufacturing.

The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration is an important step forward in coordinating our Great Lakes activities. As the result of a year-long process initiated by President Bush through an Executive Order, the Great Lakes Governors and Mayors, representatives of the Administration, the congressional delegation, and Tribal Nations joined together to unveil a Strategy, or “blueprint,” for our Great Lakes restoration and protection efforts one year ago. Over 1,500 governmental and non-governmental stakeholders worked together to create the Strategy, resulting in its broad-based support.

Since its release, many important steps have been taken to implement the Strategy: Collaboration partners adopted an Implementation Framework earlier this year, ensuring that we continue to work together to fulfill the Strategy’s promise; the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act was reauthorized with significantly increased funding; and all levels of government have begun to implement portions of the Strategy while recognizing that more needs to be done. Non-governmental organizations and the region’s citizens have also provided leadership in order to accelerate restoration and protection efforts.

The Executive Committee is considering several initiatives for action in the coming year. They include wetlands restoration, toxics reduction, and rapid response to invasive species. The Collaboration partners are working on implementation details for these activities.

Public involvement and support are essential for the success of the Collaboration. There will be opportunities to participate in the development and implementation of the initiatives. The expectation is that the early initiatives will lead to much more action and better results in the future.

The work of all those involved in the Collaboration to develop the Strategy, take individual and cooperative actions, and continue those efforts over the long term is greatly appreciated.

December 12, 2006
 


Along the North Shore of Lake Superior
Photo credit: Copyright Dave Hansen

Last updated: March 07, 2007

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