GLWP Hill Happenings May 2013


  • Water Resources Development Act of 2013
    • The Senate considered and passed the Water Resources Development Act, 601, onMay 15, 2013
    • summary of the amended bill, and its relevance to the Northeast-Midwest Region, is available.
    • Major changes from the bill passed out of committee include:
      • Addition of S. 125, sponsored by Sens. Brown (OH) and Toomey (OH)???, which requires U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to coordinate and report on multi-agency management and control of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers
      • Removal of the points of order for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund harbor maintenance funding and replacement with specific prioritization of deep draft, high-use ports and Great Lakes ports, as well as a GAO study on the use of funds
      • Addition of the National Endowment for the Oceans to support coastal restoration, research, and management
    • Colloquy among Sens. Levin (MI), Schumer (NY), and Klobuchar (MN) w/Committee Chair Sen. Boxer (CA) on funding the Great Lakes ports’ operations and maintenance as a system rather than individual ports
    • The House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s reports on June 5, 2013; these are the reports referenced in the Senate bill as part of the process for authorizing new projects
  • Farm Bill
    • The Senate marked up its Farm Bill on May 14, 2013; the committee staff have provided summaries of the bill, as considered in committee, including the Congressional Budget Office analysis. The full Senate began consideration of the bill on the floor prior to leaving for the Memorial Day recess and will work to finish up when the members return. Noted aspects include:
      • Durbin’s amendment (No. 953) to establish means testing, set at $750,000, passed 59-33; any entity having an adjusted gross income over this income level will be limited in the amount of premium subsidy provided by crop insurance. This measure is delayed until a study looking at this measure is completed.
      • Insurance subsidies are tied to conservation compliance, as supported by a wide range of industry and environmental stakeholders.
    • The House marked up and passed its Farm Bill on May 15, 2013; the committee staff have provided summaries of the bill and amendments, including the Congressional Budget Office analysis. The House is scheduled to begin considering the bill on the floor in June.
    • A comparison of the two bills has been provided by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
  • Senator Schumer (NY) announced plans to introduce legislation funding a rapid response and eradication program for aquatic invasive species.


FY2014 President’s Request – NEMWI finer review
The Northeast-Midwest Institute released a finer review of the President’s FY2014 budget request, detailing funding history on high priority programs for the regions. Great Lakes Programs of interest include: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, International Joint Commission, and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, among others.


Council of Great Lakes Governors’ Leadership Summit, May 31-June 2, 2013
Over the weekend, top officials from the eight Great Lakes states and the two provinces of Ontario and Québec gathered at the Governors’ Summit on Mackinac Island to discuss Great Lakes issues. Council of Great Lakes Governors co-chair and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder kicked off the event highlighting the need to focus on both the economic and environmental needs of the Great Lakes when pursuing the continued revival of the region. The summit included attendees from all over the region and interests, including nonprofits and industry. Panelists beyond the ten government leaders or their representatives included officials from Dow Chemical Company, U.S. Steel Corporation, Ford Motor Company, The Nature Conservancy, and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Representatives of the federally-recognized tribes and First Nations delivered an invocation at the beginning of the summit, blessing the proceedings and offering their support as sovereign partners in pursuing further restoration and management efforts. During the summit, the governors and premiers unanimously agreed to eight resolutions:

  • Creation of a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime Initiative;
  • Expansion of international trade and export opportunities;
  • Launch of the “Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Partnership”;
  • Identification of a least-wanted list of aquatic invasive species;
  • Promotion of economic cooperation between the U.S. and Canada;
  • Establishment of a beach safety awareness week and emphasis;
  • Improvement of water quality by addressing nutrient enrichment and  harmful algal blooms; and
  • Coordination of regional efforts to monitor water quality and quantity.

These resolutions form the basis of their agreed-upon agenda to pursue joint restoration and renewal of the Great Lakes region.

Great Lakes Water Levels Briefing, May 30, 2013
On Thursday, May 30, the NEMWI’s Great Lakes Washington Program coordinated a briefing for congressional staff on the recent water levels management report and recommendations from the International Joint Commission (IJC). Speakers from the IJC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers described the peer-reviewed report that proposes modest improvements to the management of water flowing out of Lake Superior into Lakes Michigan and Huron, particularly in times of extremely low water levels. The IJC recommended further study on ways to restore Lakes Michigan and Huron by 5-10? without exacerbating future high water levels. Finally, the speakers explained the developing Adaptive Management plan to address the impacts of fluctuating water levels, given the anticipated future fluxes associated with changing environmental and climatic conditions. Staff received information on the long-term monitoring, modeling, and assessment needed to fully and properly implement an Adaptive Management program. Additional information on the Adaptive Management plan, including a detailed PowerPoint on the draft report, is available here.


The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative 10th Annual Meeting and Conference
June 19-21, 2013 | Marquette, Michigan


  1. Meet the new face of invasive species defense…Minnesota uses dogs as zebra mussel inspectors
  2. Lampreys, featured on The Tonight Show, attach to Jay Leon