EPA has named the membership of the first advisory board to support implementation of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – an aggressive action plan addressing five urgent issues through fiscal year 2014:

  1. cleaning up toxics and areas of concern;
  2. combating invasive species;
  3. promoting near shore health;
  4. restoring wetlands; and,
  5. tracking progress working with strategic partners.

The Great Lakes Advisory Board will provide advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator, who serves as chair of the federal Interagency Task Force consisting of 11 agencies. The Great Lakes contain 21% of the world's supply of freshwater and 84% of North America's supply. Drought conditions, changing weather patterns and extremely low precipitation have resulted in record low water levels exacerbating water scarcity concerns. While the newly formed Board will address many concerns and issues confronting the Great Lakes, water levels, water stress and water scarcity considerations certainly will impact and guide much of their work.

The first two-year appointments to the advisory board are:

  • J. David Allen, Professor – University of Michigan.
  • Patricia Birkholz, Founder – Great Lakes Legislative Caucus.
  • Kathryn Buckner, President – Council of Great Lakes Industries.
  • Naomi Davis, President – Blacks in Green.
  • Molly Flanagan, Program Officer – The Joyce Foundation.
  • Steve Galarneau, Director – Office of the Great Lakes, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
  • Jennifer Hill, Field Manager – National Wildlife Federation and Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition.
  • Roger Germann, Executive Vice President – John G. Shedd Aquarium.
  • Bill Hafs, Director of Environmental Programs – Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District.
  • Michael Isham, Tribal Councilman – Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Government and Chair of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
  • Simone Lightfoot, Manager of Conservation & Sustainability – NAACP Detroit Branch.
  • Joy Mulinex, Director – Public Policy and Great Lakes Land Conservancy Coalition Director – Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
  • Jim Ridgway, Vice President – Environmental Consulting and Technology, Inc.
  • Joan Rose, Professor – Michigan State University.
  • Richard Stewart, Co-Director – Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.
  • Matt Thompson, Environmental Resources Coordinator – Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.
  • David Ullrich, Executive Director – Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.
  • Jim Wagner, City Administrator – Trenton, Michigan.

The Interagency Task Force is in the process of scheduling next steps for the Great Lakes Advisory Board in the spring.

The Great Lakes provide more than 30 million Americans with drinking water and underpin a multi-billion dollar economy. In February 2009, President Obama proposed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. GLRI funds are being used to accelerate cleanup work in the 29 remaining AOCs identified by the U.S. and Canada under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

More information on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: http://www.glri.us.