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Great Lakes Article:

Public input can help to protect Great Lakes
The News-Messenger
02/20/04

People concerned about the health and future of Lake Erie have another opportunity to share their ideas and knowledge with the decision-makers.

Gov. Bob Taft, the Council of Great Lakes Governors, Ohio Sea Grant and the Great Lakes Commission are sponsoring a meeting to discuss nine priorities for Great Lakes restoration established by the governors of the eight Great Lakes states.

The public session is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, at Cuyahoga Community College, Building G-04, Rooms A & B, 11000 Pleasant Valley Road, Parma.

It may be difficult for anyone to attend this meeting, but the opportunity for input goes beyond attendance.

Written comments may be submitted to Rita Straith at the Great Lakes Commission rstraith@glc.org.

Ohio EPA Director Christopher Jones chairs the Great Lakes Priorities Project, which has identified nine priorities:

Ensure the sustainable use of our water resources while confirming that the states retain authority over water use and diversions of Great Lakes waters.

Promote programs to protect human health against adverse effects of pollution in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Control pollution from diffuse sources into water, land and air.

Continue to reduce the introduction of persistent bioaccumulative toxics into the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Stop the introduction and spread of non-native aquatic invasive species enhance fish and wildlife by restoring and protecting coastal wetlands, fish and wildlife habitats.

Restore to environmental health the areas of concern identified by the International Joint Commission as needing remediation.

Standardize and enhance the methods by which information is collected, recorded and shared within the region.

Adopt sustainable use practices that protect environmental resources and may enhance the recreational and commercial value of our Great Lakes.

Comments will be used to develop protection and restoration strategies and to support passage of Great Lakes restoration legislation in Congress.

As chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, Gov. Taft initiated the Great Lakes Priorities Project, an effort among the region's governors to identify the most important issues facing the Great Lakes and mobilize resources to address them.

Taft calls the Great Lakes "an irreplaceable natural resource, containing 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water."

We agree.

The lakes serve as a source of drinking water, a recreational venue, a wildlife habitat, a shipping corridor and a cornerstone of the regional economy.

If you have something to say about them, don't hesitate. You may hold the key to an even better future for our natural treasure.


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