The Dernogalizer

February 21, 2010

EPA Reveals Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Plan

Filed under: environment,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:48 pm
Tags: ,

The EPA is releasing a plan today to help restore the Great Lakes.  The AP’s John Flesher has the story here, and you can read more about the initiative on the EPA website.  If you would like to read the contents of the action plan, you can check it out here, and I’ve also linked to the pdf.

From the AP article: “The Obama administration has developed a five-year blueprint for rescuing the Great Lakes, a sprawling ecosystem plagued by toxic contamination, shrinking wildlife habitat and invasive species.

The plan envisions spending more than $2.2 billion for long-awaited repairs after a century of damage to the lakes, which hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the document, which Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was releasing at a news conference Sunday in Washington.”

The following summary of the action plan is from the Great Lake Restoration Initiative’s website…

“U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, in collaboration with 15 other federal agencies, have made restoring the Great Lakes a national priority. Signaling a commitment beyond measure of past promises, in February 2009, President Obama proposed $475 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (Initiative). This Action Plan describes how the Initiative will be executed from 2010 through 2014.

The Initiative is not intended to be another grand statement about the Great Lakes; it is intended to operationalize those statements. It builds on countless hours by elected, agency, business, public interest and other leaders, which resulted in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy (GLRC Strategy). The GLRC Strategy provides a framework for the Action Plan, and the Action Plan is just that: an action driver. It articulates the most significant ecosystem problems and efforts to address them in five major focus areas:

  • Toxic Substances and Areas of Concern, including pollution prevention and cleanup of the most polluted areas in the Great Lakes (see pages 19-21 for Measures of Progress with specific, quantifiable targets; and Principal Actions)
  • Invasive Species, including efforts to institute a “zero tolerance policy” toward new invasions, including the establishment of self-sustaining populations of invasive species, such as Asian Carp (pages 24-26)
  • Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution, including a targeted geographic focus on high priority watersheds and reducing polluted runoff from urban, suburban and, agricultural sources (pages 29-30)
  • Habitat and Wildlife Protection and Restoration, including bringing wetlands and other habitat back to life, and the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the entire 530,000 acres of Great Lakes coastal wetlands for the purpose of strategically targeting restoration and protection efforts in a science-based manner (pages 33-35)
  • Accountability, Education, Monitoring, Evaluation, Communication and Partnerships, including the implementation of goal- and results-based accountability measures, learning initiatives, outreach and strategic partnerships (pages 38-39)

The Action Plan identifies goals, objectives, measurable ecological targets, and specific actions for each of the five focus areas identified above. The Action Plan will be used by federal agencies in the development of the federal budget for Great Lakes restoration in fiscal years 2011 and beyond. As such, it will serve as guidance for collaborative restoration work with participants to advance restoration. The Action Plan will also help advance the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with Canada.


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