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GLIN==> Great Lakes Priorities Workshop (held in Erie, PA - Feb 25, 2004)

Submitted by Freda Tarbell <ftarbell@state.pa.us>


Department of Environmental Protection

Northwest Regional Office

230 Chestnut St.

Meadville, PA  16335

CONTACT:  Freda Tarbell

(814) 332-6816



ERIE: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Office of
the Great Lakes Manager Lori Boughton today outlined results of the recent
Great Lakes Restoration workshop that was conducted in Erie.

"Workshop participants concluded that controlling nonpoint source
pollution-pollution from everyday activities-is the issue that deserves the
most focused attention, Boughton said.  "We've now heard what's important to
Pennsylvania so we don't have to wait to start addressing our local
priorities, putting our words into action."

            Approximately 100 people attended the Feb. 25 daylong workshop
in Erie, one of a series of workshops throughout the Great Lakes being
facilitated by Great Lakes Sea Grant Programs at the request of the Great
Lakes Commission in conjunction with the Council of Great Lakes Governors.

"I was overwhelmed," Pennsylvania Sea Grant Environmental Director Eric
Obert said.  "We had expected a much smaller turnout of mostly familiar
faces.  Instead, we had farmers there, landowners, people who I have never
seen at the table before.  This demonstrates to us that there is commitment
across the board, across all walks of life, and how important Lake Erie is
to the quality of our lives, whether to support our livelihood or recreation
or the resources that sustain us."

"Lake Erie is a good canary in the coal mine," Great Lakes United former
President Margaret Wooster said.  "In the 1970s, problems in Lake Erie were
the catalyst for the Clean Water Act and the Great Lakes Water Quality
Agreement.  Now, 30 years later, the dead zone and avian botulism outbreaks
remind us that we cannot rest on our laurels and past accomplishments."

The information that was gathered at the workshop will be passed on to the
Great Lakes governors, legislators at both the federal and state levels, and
Great Lakes mayors.  Governors will develop a basinwide Great Lakes
restoration plan and federal legislators are currently considering two bills
that would appropriate between $4-billion and $6-billion for restoration
work within the Great Lakes over the next five to ten years.

"This is a very exciting time," Boughton said.  "The Great Lakes are now
getting the same level of attention that the Florida Everglades received in
the 1980s and 1990s, where success is measured in thousands of acres of the
Everglades being restored to pristine condition.  Government and committed
private citizens led the way in Florida, and today those of us in the Great
Lakes region face a similar challenge and opportunity."

For additional information about the Great Lakes and efforts to protect the
environment, visit

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