Drafting the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes
The Strategy Teams
Following the Conveners Meeting and Signing Ceremony on December 3, 2004, the Issue Area Strategy Teams began their work. The eight Teams were organized around eight of the nine priorities identified by the Council of Great Lakes Governors. The Governors' water management priority was not addressed since it was being dealt with by the Governors through their Great Lakes Water Management Initiative. The eight priorities were:
- Aquatic invasive species
- Habitat conservation and species management
- Near-shore waters and coastal areas (Coastal health)
- Areas of concern/sediments
- Non-point sources
- Toxic pollutants
- Sound information base and representative indicators, and
The Teams were made up of subject-matter experts from many diverse backgrounds. There were more than 1,500 people from all levels of government, and nongovernmental organizations, working on the specific issues identified as crucial to the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.
They were the working bodies responsible for drafting specific action items and recommendations to address the eight issues.
In addition, the Teams addressed the following overarching considerations and topics:
- Human health impacts and priorities
- Tribal interests and perspectives, and
- Research and monitoring
The Draft Strategy
On July 7, 2005, the Great Lakes Regional Collaborations released its draft Strategy document for public view and comment at Summit I in Duluth, Minnesota. The Draft Strategy consisted of the recommendations put forward by the eight Strategy Teams for consideration by the GLRC.
Public Input Solicited
Following the release of the Draft Strategy, a 60-day public comment period opened to solicit input from all Great Lakes stakeholders online and in writing. In addition, six public meetings were held in locations throughout the Great Lakes basin to seek the public’s views on the recommendations and to help establish priorities. By the close of the public comment period, the GLRC had received over 6,000 comments.
The Final GLRC Strategy Released
Following the Public Comment Period, the GLRC Executive Committee considered the public comments in developing the final Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes which was released on December 12, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois at Summit II.