2013 Briefing Recap: Future of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, the Northeast-Midwest Institute coordinated a briefing, entitled “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Moving from the GAO Report to the Next Action Plan” on agency responses to the Government Accountability Office’s audit of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), as well as plans for its future. Speakers included Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Rachel Jacobson, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife & Parks, U.S. Department of Interior; and Martin Lowenfish, Natural Resource Conservation Service Conservation Initiatives Team Leader, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mr. Davis provided background on how the GLRI, through bipartisan Congressional support, has been able to boost the environmental restoration efforts in the Great Lakes region, notably, the work on Areas of Concern. As part of the Administration’s continued commitment to the GLRI, the agencies have begun taking public input on what should be included in the next Action Plan. The agencies are also using feedback from the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Audit of the GLRI; the Great Lakes Advisory Board input; and input from the Administration’s Science Advisory Board. The draft of the FY2015-19 Action Plan is expected in Spring 2014, where it will be open to formal public comment. Speakers from the Department of the Interior and Agriculture highlighted specific projects that have led to progress under the GLRI, including preventing invasions of Asian carp into the Great Lakes and reduction of nutrient loadings, respectively. The Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chairs, Sens. Carl Levin (MI) and Mark Kirk (IL) and Reps. Candice Miller (MI-10), John Dingell (MI-12), Sean Duffy (WI-07), and Louise Slaughter (NY-25), served as honorary co-sponsors of the briefing. The presentation is available here.