Michigan Land Use Institute

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Interstate Partners:

Nine Great Priorities

May 2, 2005 | By Andy Guy
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

In an effort to attract increased federal funding and guide the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes ecosystem, the governors of the Great Lakes states — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York — agreed on October 1, 2003, to nine priorities based on sustainable development principles.

“The Great Lakes are an economic engine that drives the national economy,” Ohio Governor Bob Taft said one month later. “They are the passageway through which American goods reach the global marketplace. The lakes and their tributaries are a hub of business and industry. They also provide recreational resources enjoyed by Americans, Canadians, and people from across the globe.”

The governors’ priorities:

  • Ensure sustainable water use and retain state authority over the use and diversion of Great Lakes water.
  • Protect human health against the adverse effects of pollution in the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Protect the water, land, and air from a variety of “non-point” pollution sources such as pavement runoff, fertilizers and pesticides, and soil erosion from poorly managed construction sites.
  • Reduce the amount of toxic chemicals entering the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Stop the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.
  • Enhance fish and wildlife by restoring and protecting habitat and coastal wetlands.
  • Restore the 40-plus Areas of Concern in the basin that suffer from contaminated sediments, inadequately treated sewage, and urban runoff.
  • Standardize and improve the collection and sharing of water resource information.
  • Adopt water use strategies that protect and enhance the commercial and recreational value of the Great Lakes.

“We hold a great treasure in trust for our children and grandchildren,” Governor Taft said. “To the extent that it has been damaged, we must restore it. Where it retains its original value, we must preserve it. We can enjoy this precious resource today, even while acting in concert to safeguard the ecosystem for future generations.”

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