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GLIN==> Key Great Lakes monitoring initiative promoted by Sen. Levin

Title: Key Great Lakes monitoring initiative promoted by Sen. Levin

Contact: Roger Gauthier, Great Lakes Commission
734-971-9135, gauthier@glc.org

Key Great Lakes monitoring initiative promoted by Sen. Levin

The Great Lakes Commission commends Sen. Carl Levin for acting to protect the Great Lakes by ensuring that start-up funding for the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) was included in an appropriations bill for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“An initial step in restoring the environmental integrity of the Great Lakes is to make sure that our basic information on the conditions of the lakes is easily found and accessible,” said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission.  “Sen. Levin recognizes that our region has a major challenge in obtaining high-quality data on the Great Lakes system and managing the sheer volume of information that is currently collected, which GLOS will help us do.”

A $1.0 million allocation to support start-up operations for GLOS was included in the FY 2007 funding bill for NOAA, based on Sen. Levin’s request. GLOS is a new nonprofit corporation created to improve system-wide monitoring of Great Lakes conditions and produce more integrated historic and real-time information. 

One of the early objectives of GLOS will be the development of a three-dimensional computer model of ongoing currents through the Huron-to-Erie corridor, i.e., the St. Clair and Detroit rivers and Lake St. Clair.  A recent Government Accounting Office investigation identified a need for improved monitoring of oil and hazardous chemical spills in this waterway, which provides drinking water to nearly 4 million residents of southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario.  More than 1,100 accidental discharges of pollutants were reported in this waterway from 1994 through 2004.

“This one GLOS initiative will have profound benefits for constituents on both sides of the border,” said Doug Martz, chair of the Macomb County (Michigan) Water Quality Board. “Water plant operators are the first line of defense for water consumers throughout our region. To protect against the effects of  hazardous spills on drinking water supplies, they need to know more about prevailing river currents, which the new model will provide.”

Improved monitoring of Great Lakes conditions and easier access to scientific data were top recommendations of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, made up of nearly 1,300 regional representatives convened to identify Great Lakes priorities. The Collaboration’s strategy report, issued in December 2005, specifically called for Congress to fund Great Lakes monitoring programs as part of the U.S. commitment to the “Global Earth Observation System of Systems,” or GEOSS.  This world-wide initiative is strongly supported by the United Nations and the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, which has been pushing Congress to support protection of the nation’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. 

The new GLOS funding must still be approved by the full Senate and preserved in negotiations with the House over the final legislation. The NOAA funding bill previously passed by the House does not include the GLOS provision.

The Senate legislation is S. Rept. 109-280; the House version is H. Rept. 109-520.

Contact: Roger Gauthier, Great Lakes Commission, 734-971-9135, gauthier@glc.org


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by the Hon. Thomas E. Huntley (Minnesota), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes­St. Lawrence region and its residents.  The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials and governors’ appointees from its eight member states.  Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.”  The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests.  The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Great Lakes Commission

The Hon. Thomas E. Huntley, Chair; Tim E. Eder, Executive Director

Eisenhower Corporate Park • 2805 S. Industrial Hwy. Suite 100 • Ann Arbor, Michigan • 48104-6791

734-971-9135 • Fax: 734-971-9150 • Web: www.glc.org

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