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News and Events

September 1, 2017

U.S. federal agencies release draft Domestic Action Plan for Lake Erie

The federal agencies responsible for meeting U.S. commitments under Annex 4 (Nutrients) of the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement released a draft plan on August 17 that describes the activities that federal and state agencies will undertake to address harmful algal blooms and hypoxia in Lake Erie. The plan summarizes the federal and state activities that have been established to manage nutrient discharges to the Lake and achieve the phosphorus reduction targets that the U.S. and Canada established for Lake Erie in February 2016. The plan will be open for public comment until September 29.

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August 31, 2017

City of Waukesha water diversion appeal resolved

On August 2, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) announced that it had decided not to pursue its appeal of the Great Lakes Governors’ decision to grant the City of Waukesha, Wisconsin a diversion of water from Lake Michigan for use as a public water supply. The Great Lakes Governors had unanimously approved the City’s request in June 2016, finding that the application satisfied the criteria in the Compact and Agreement for an exception to the ban on diversions of water outside the Great Lakes basin. In August 2016, GLSLCI requested the Governors to reconsider their decision to grant the City’s request, but the Governors voted unanimously to affirm the decision.

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US Army Corps of Engineers releases Brandon Road study

On August 7, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a study that evaluates aquatic nuisance species (ANS) control technologies that could be constructed in the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, IL to control the one-way, upstream transfer of ANS from the Mississippi River basin into the Great Lakes basin. USACE evaluated six alternative approaches for controlling ANS at the dam and has recommended an option that USACE asserts will reduce the risk that ANS from the Mississippi River basin will establish populations in the Great Lakes Basin to the maximum extent possible while minimizing impacts to waterway uses and users.

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August 1, 2017

Determining the Economic Impact of Protecting and Restoring the Great Lakes

CGLI is partnering with the Great Lakes Commission to lead a study that will determine the economic impact of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Research teams from the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University will develop a comprehensive estimate of the economic impact of GLRI that will be used to demonstrate the value of ecosystem restoration and protection to the regional economy.

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July 10, 2017

Live silver carp pulled from a branch of the Chicago Area Waterway System

On June 23, a commercial fisherman pulled a live Asian carp out of the Calumet River, about nine miles from Lake Michigan. According to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, the 8-pound, 28-inch long adult silver carp was the second live Asian carp that has been found beyond the electric barriers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in the past 10 years. The first incident was the discovery of a bighead carp in Lake Calumet in 2010.

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ECCC decision on proposed deep geological repository expected this summer

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has proposed to construct and operate a deep geological repository (DGR) near the Bruce Energy facility in Kincardine, Ontario to store low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste generated by three nuclear power generating facilities in Ontario. OPG’s plan is not without controversy. The Canadian government was expected to approve or deny the plan in September 2015, but deferred the decision until March 2016. In February 2016, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna requested OPG to provide more information and additional environmental assessments by the end of 2016. On December 12, 2016, the Canadian cabinet issued an order that allows the Environment Minister an additional 243 days to decide on the project, which means that a decision is expected this summer.

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Record high water levels in the Great Lakes create controversy for IJC’s Plan 2014

In December 2016, the U.S. and Canada approved the International Joint Commission’s new plan for regulating water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The plan, which is known as “Plan 2014,” changes the regulation of outflows from the Moses-Saunders hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence River and has proven controversial. Flooding and high water levels caused significant damage along the shores of lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Businesses, property owners affected by the high water, and New York Governor Cuomo blame Plan 2014 for the damage and have threatened to take action against the IJC.

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Great Lakes Executive Committee meeting highlights progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

On June 26 and 27, the Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLEC) met in Chicago to discuss progress being made to implement the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). The current GLEC co-chairs (Michael Goffin of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Tinka Hyde of US EPA) solicited input on several issues, such as whether the US and Canada should partially delist an AOC when one country has completed a cleanup but the other has not and how the lake ecosystem objectives that the GLWQA requires fit into the GLWQA implementation scheme.

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Mayor John Dickert of the City of Racine, Wisconsin is the new President/CAO of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Mayors that are members of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSCI) met in Montreal June 14-16 to attend the organization’s 2017 annual meeting and conference. The mayors enacted seven resolutions at the mayors-only business meeting on June 14. Three of the resolutions enacted by the mayors addressed issues that are particularly pertinent to CGLI’s issue agenda. In addition, the mayors announced that GLSLCI’s current Executive Director, David Ullrich, will leave the organization after 14 years to intensify his involvement in board activities and to pursue other interests. Mayor John Dickert of Racine, Wisconsin has been selected as GLSLCI’s President and Chief Administrative Officer beginning July 1.

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Crude oil transportation in the Great Lakes region continues to attract attention from regional organizations and policy makers

Approximately 80 people participated in a symposium in Cleveland on June 8 and 9 that was designed to increase understanding of the complexity of crude oil movement in and through the Great Lakes region. The meeting featured presentations from regional emergency response organizations, Enbridge Energy Partners, the insurance industry, and government agencies. Some of the sessions focused on lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the pipeline spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the rail incident in Lac Megantic, Quebec.

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