News from the Great Lakes Commission  |  March 2018  |  View this email online 

GLC names Darren Nichols new executive director

The GLC is pleased to announce that Darren Nichols, formerly of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, will be our new executive director starting in mid-April. Darren, who most recently served as associate director for the William D. Ruckelshaus Center in Seattle, will oversee the GLC’s work on regional programs and advocacy, as well as day-to-day operations.

As executive director of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, Darren managed a regional, bistate agency governed by a thirteen-member commission. He convened Oregon and Washington governors’ offices, local and state officials, tribal leaders, railroads, environmental advocates, scientists, property owners, business leaders, and other interests to address complex public policy issues, including fossil fuel transport, climate change, forest health, urban growth management, and regional economic development. Darren developed and led multi-agency, multi-disciplinary partnerships to address regional challenges.

We are excited to welcome Darren to the Great Lakes community!

Lake Michigan

GLC holds 2018 Semiannual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The GLC's 2018 Semiannual Meeting and Great Lakes Day were held earlier this month in Washington, D.C. 

At the Semiannual Meeting, Commissioners endorsed a resolution reaffirming the GLC’s support for NAFTA and the importance of trade between the U.S. and Canada, and encouraged both governments to avoid disrupting current trading patterns and creating uncertainty in markets as re-negotiations continue. The GLC also passed a resolution encouraging the governments to work together to help further grow the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence cruising industry.

Cathy Stepp, newly appointed administrator for U.S. EPA Region 5, spoke at the meeting. She reaffirmed the EPA’s commitment to the GLRI, which has funded nearly 4,000 Great Lakes restoration projects since 2010.

Keynote speaker U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) focused on the economic impact of the lakes on Indiana, the region, and the nation. “As Congress debates an infrastructure package, we have to remember that infrastructure includes locks and ports like the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor,” said Senator Young, who serves as vice chair of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “We can’t overlook the economic significance of the lakes.”

Click here for final meeting recap information including the final agenda, briefing book, resolutions and news release.

2018 GLC Semiannual Meeting

Coalition releases joint priorities for the Great Lakes

On March 5, a coalition representing business, industry and environmental groups and states, cities, and tribes released joint priorities for sustaining Great Lakes restoration and economic revitalization. 

The agenda urges members of Congress and the administration to fully fund the critical Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, preserve and strengthen agricultural conservation programs, invest in aging water infrastructure, maintain and upgrade ports, locks and other navigation infrastructure, and protect the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species.

Click here to read the priorities.

GLC releases framework to improve Western Lake Erie through investments in water quality credits

The GLC recently released a framework for helping Western Lake Erie basin states collaborate to reduce phosphorus entering the lake, where it can contribute to the formation of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and dead zones.

The Erie P Market Framework was completed as part of a GLC-led project to test market-based approaches to incentivize agricultural practices that control phosphorus runoff. In December 2017, representatives from Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana agreed to use the framework to guide the generation and sale of phosphorus credits. The credits are created when credit sellers in agriculture reduce phosphorus losses from their fields. Ontario also participated, sharing lessons learned from similar efforts in the province. 

Organizations interested in purchasing phosphorus credits should contact the GLC at 734-971-9135 or email Water Quality Program Manager Nicole Zacharda.

Great news for the Great Lakes: GLRI receives level funding 

On March 23, President Trump signed an omnibus spending bill authorizing a $1.3 trillion congressional budget for the current fiscal year. The bill appropriates $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has received strong support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

GLRI programs are critical in protecting the health and economic vitality of the Great Lakes region by funding restoration projects completed in coordination with federal, state and local partners. 

To learn more about the GLRI, click here. 

GLC's Sea Grant Fellow shares green infrastructure insights

GLC Sea Grant Fellow Margo Davis recently published a blog post detailing her work on our Green Infrastructure Champions project. Margo coordinates the project's green infrastructure mentoring network, including matching “Emerging Champions,” or mentees, with appropriate “Pioneer Champions,” or mentors. 

Click here to read the post.

Green Infrastructure

Upcoming events

May 9-10: Great Lakes Fishery Commission Annual Meeting The Great Lakes Fishery Commission Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for the public to learn about and discuss developments in the Great Lakes fishery. Commissioners and the U.S. and Canadian Committees of Advisors will also hold meetings at this event.

May 16-17: 2018 Great Lakes Areas of Concern Conference
Join AOC representatives at the Blue Harbor Hotel Conference Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin to discuss ongoing work and progress around the Great Lakes. 

May 22-23: 2018 Annual Meeting of the Great Lakes Dredging Team
Join the Great Lakes Dredging Team for its 2018 Annual Meeting, to be held at the Park Inn in Toledo, Ohio.

June 13-15: 2018 Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Annual Meeting and Conference
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative's Annual Meeting and Conference brings together stakeholders (municipal, federal, state, provincial, tribal/First Nations/Metis, NGOs, private, academic) from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region to share best practices, discuss shared issues and move forward the protection and restoration of the resource.

June 18-22: IAGLR’s 61st Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research
Fellow researchers from around the world will gather in Scarborough, on the green edge of Toronto, for IAGLR's 61st annual Conference on Great Lakes Research. 

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