VIDEO: Michigan residents urge public input for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Editors note: Catch tweets of hearing from Echo and others on Twitter at #GLRI Related stories here. Related poll here.

By Allison Bush,
Great Lakes Echo
Aug. 3, 2009

When more than 30 Michigan residents approached the microphone at a Great Lakes public hearing Monday, two messages were repeated: the public needs to be included in the Obama Administration’s $475 million plan to restore the Great Lakes, and there needs to be an effort to educate others.

“If we don’t educate people to understand how their day-to-day activities impact the quality of the Great Lakes, our efforts may be lost,” one resident said. “Our big project may be short lived, and without a long-term impact on the Great Lakes.”

About 300 people gathered Monday in East Lansing to hear details of the plan from Environmental Protection Agency officials.

Most were optimistic and gracious, while urging officials to act fast once the money is granted and to keep the process transparent.

“These public meetings are certainly an important first step in this process,” said Jennifer Heller of the Healing Our Waters Coalition. “But a mechanism that increases collaboration and coordination must be identified to ensure that all partners are focused on the same priorities.”

The plan sets aside $147 million to clean toxic substances, $105 million for habitat and wildlife restoration, $97 million for near-shore health and non-point pollution and $60 million to fight invasive species.

While there was much excitement about the prospect of federal funding, several people said there needs to be an emphasis on the potential of the lakes and the progress that has already been made.

Chuck Nelson, chairperson for the Michigan Steering Committee for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, said several water management systems that help keep invasive species at bay are already showcases.

The meeting was part of several held throughout the Great Lakes states. The EPA is accepting comments through Aug. 19. They can be mailed to:
USEPA, Great Lakes National Program Office (G-17J),
Attention: Anthony Kizlauskas, 77 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604

One thought on “VIDEO: Michigan residents urge public input for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

  1. Pingback: » What Do We Want? Restoration. When Do We Want it? Now. - Healthy Lakes - Healthy Lives

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *