Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) , in collaboration with 15 other federal agencies, have made restoring the Great Lakes a national priority and is proposing a budget of $475 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (Initiative). The EPA Action Plan, recently released, describes how the Initiative will be executed from 2010 through 2014.

The Plan builds on the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy (GLRC Strategy). The GLRC Strategy provides a framework for the Action Plan. The Action Plan has five major focus areas:
  • Toxic Substances and Areas of Concern, including pollution prevention and cleanup of the most polluted areas in the Great Lakes
  • Invasive Species, including efforts to institute a “zero tolerance policy” toward new invasions, including the establishment of self-sustaining populations of invasive species, such as Asian Carp
  • Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution, including a targeted geographic focus on high priority watersheds and reducing polluted runoff from urban, suburban and, agricultural sources
  • Habitat and Wildlife Protection and Restoration, including bringing wetlands and other habitat back to life, and the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the entire 530,000 acres of Great Lakes coastal wetlands for the purpose of strategically targeting restoration and protection efforts in a science-based manner
  • Accountability, Education, Monitoring, Evaluation, Communication and Partnerships, including the implementation of goal- and results-based accountability measures, learning initiatives, outreach and strategic partnerships

The Action Plan identifies goals, objectives, measurable ecological targets, and specific actions for each of the five focus areas identified above. The Action Plan will be used by federal agencies in the development of the federal budget for Great Lakes restoration in fiscal years 2011 and beyond. As such, it will serve as guidance for collaborative restoration work with participants to advance restoration. EPA believes that the Plan will also help advance the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with Canada.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website