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Great Lakes Blue Accounting Initiative Launches Pilot Projects

Three pilot projects are being developed to demonstrate the strategic importance and effectiveness of the Great Lakes Blue Accounting (GLBA) initiative. The GLBA initiative began in June 2013, when the Conference of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers called for a comprehensive approach to monitoring Great Lakes water resources. A task group was convened to develop recommendations to implement the Governors’ and Premiers’ directive, and the task group published a strategy entitled Great Lakes Blue Accounting: Empowering Decisions to Realize Regional Water Values in April 2014. CGLI helped coordinate the task group and was one of three co-authors of the report.

The purpose of the GLBA is to enable the Great Lakes community to create consensus-based goals for Great Lakes water resources management, identify strategic actions for achieving the goals and select process metrics for tracking progress, and create logical and efficient data and information flow to support implementation. The Great Lakes Commission and The Nature Conservancy are collaborating to coordinate the implementation of the GLBA program. CGLI serves as a member of the GLBA Advisory Committee.

In fall 2015, the GLC received a $4 million grant from the Mott Foundation to support further development and implementation of GLBA. Additional project-level support has been secured from the Erb Family Foundation. Three pilot issues have been selected as demonstration projects to illustrate how the GLBA framework can enhance decision-making in the region:

  • Fish habitat and aquatic connectivity: GLBA will help improve information flow and measure the progress of existing programs that are connecting waterways and considering the benefits and drawbacks of barrier removal to promote healthy, diverse, and connected aquatic habitats.
  • Aquatic invasive species prevention and control: GLBA will support established regional programs that prevent new invasive species from entering the Great Lakes and manage established invasive populations by enhancing regional collaboration, information flow, and complementarity of invasive species policies and practices.

Source water protection: This initiative will convene water quality professionals across the region to set shared goals and measure progress toward securing safe and sustainable source water for domestic use. More information about the source water pilot project is available on the GLC website (