This summer, the President delivered his request for funding to the U.S. Department of the Interior and in this paper the President requested a boost in spending of approximately $475 million in FY 2010 targeting Great Lakes cleanup and restoration efforts. The additional funding is in addition to the roughly $500 million that Congress routinely appropriates to the Great Lakes each year. In total, the President’s request would mean nearly $1 billion for the effort. At the time that this paper was written, both the House and the Senate have passed their versions of the FY 2010 Interior appropriations bill and the House has passed the conference committee version which marries the two original bills into one. The Senate is expected to take up the conference committee version in the next few weeks and it is widely expected to pass. Explore ; payday loans Ontario.
In addition to simply adding money to the coffers, President Obama has also appointed a ‘Great Lakes Czar’ to oversee cleanup and restoration efforts. The President named Cameron Davis, president of the Chicago-based Alliance for the Great Lakes, to coordinate federal programs on the lakes, including efforts to clean up contaminated sediments, reduce existing pollution sources and stanch the onslaught of invasive species in recent decades. Upon hearing of Mr. Davis’ assignment to the position, Jack Bails, the Chairman of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, stated that’ Cameron Davis’ work at the Alliance for the Great Lakes during the last 23 years has helped put the Great Lakes on the national radar-not that, with the new administration and Congress, but with states, cities and countless citizens. His passion and dedication to the Great Lakes has earned him the unofficial title of’ Mr. Great Lakes’ in recent years. This makes it official. ‘ Davis will report to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and his official title will be’ Senior Adviser on the Great Lakes’.
In his new role, Mr. Davis will be largely accountable for overseeing the new restoration projects that are financed in the 2010 budget. The projects that feed into this effort are wide and varied, but fall into a small number of major categories :partnerships, monitoring, thwarting invasive species, habitat restoration, and near-shore health. A sampling of the FY 2010 Great Lakes restoration programs are detailed, below.
The US EPA will coordinate/collaborate with Canada, states, ndustry, tribes and NGOs, Federal Agencies, and members of the public to implement critical lake-wide management plans, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative programs, projects and activities. This effort is funded to a standard of $13 million and will allow for strategic implementation of critical projects that have been previously identified by Great Lakes resource managers. The US EPA will also spearhead an effort to coordinate the design of monitoring networks and enhance related state agency and university capabilities with a goal of developing comprehensive monitoring and predictive ecosystem capabilities. This $15.5 million program is specifically aimed at monitoring near-shore water quality and identifying ‘non-point’ sources of pollution. Non-point pollution includes septic system and leech-field emissions, agricultural runoff, and erosion from stream banks and construction sites.
Through the ‘Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act,’ the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will award grants to the eight Great Lakes States, Native American Tribes and private interests to implement practical solutions to restore and preserve the region’s fish and wildlife resources. This $8 million effort is the first federal program dedicated to restoring important fish and wildlife and the habitat on which they depend. In conjunction with the Fish and Wildlife effort, a separate Bureau of Indian Affairs program will award $3 million in grants to approximately 25 tribes and inter-tribal organizations to safeguard and restore culturally significant native species such as wild rice and the habitats which support these species.
Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will establish and enhance programs that reduce the risk of introduction and the effects of aquatic invasive species by creating a risk assessment program that supports decisions for State regulation, habitat restoration programs, and industry self-regulation. Additionally, the Fish and Wildlife Service will begin to implement elements of a Great Lakes Ballast water initiative including supporting the Ballast Water Technology Demonstration Program.
The main purpose of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is to limit and eliminate toxic elements entering the lake, provide money for public waste elimination facilities and processes, and coordinate efforts to implement programs that will control pollution from entering the Great Lakes’ Basin. Some of the general goals are to keep the lakes free from pollutants that can be found in the water, on the water, or provide nutrients for life that will have a negative effect on the Great Lakes’ ecosystem. The agreement also is to reduce and eliminate substances that can cause undesirable colors and odors.
Municipal Sources. An example of this form of pollution would be wastewater or sewage. All municipalities with drainage into the Great Lakes Basin must have adequate treatment facilities to prevent pollution from entering the lakes.
Industrial Sources. Industries operating along the Basin must have control and abatement procedures in place in order to eliminate pollutants such as chemicals or excess heat from entering the Lakes.
As an editorial aside, I can vividly recall watching filmstrips in grade school that showed brown froth at least one foot thick sloshing onto the shores of Lake Erie. The narrator told of how damaged the lake had become; raw sewage and industrial run-off polluted the once pristine waters. I can recall it so vividly because I was upset and ashamed that we had allowed our great lake to become so fouled. I bring up this memory to point out how far we have come in our cleanup of the Great Lakes in only a few decades. Today, there is no brown foam sitting atop the water. Today, children can swim off the beaches and boaters can enjoy the open water. To be sure, we have more to do, but if what we have already accomplished is any indicator, the future of the Great Lakes will be bright, indeed.
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