Public comment period underway
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released a draft of New York's Great Lakes Basin: Action Agenda 2013, a five-year action plan to guide restoration, conservation, and sustainable development activities in New York's Great Lakes region. Stakeholder input on the draft agenda will be accepted until Sept. 1.
"The Great Lakes Action Agenda is New York state's only fully integrated strategic plan for its portion of the Great Lakes basin," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "The plan is uniquely integrated with binational, federal and state priorities to ensure that New York's Great Lakes stakeholders are regionally competitive for federal funding and other opportunities to advance sustainable development and environmental restoration in our Great Lakes region."
The Great Lakes Action Agenda was drafted in collaboration with stakeholder organizations throughout the basin, with the intention of creating an integrated planning tool to assist stakeholders in identifying, funding and tracking goal-oriented projects in New York's Great Lakes basin. The agenda will serve as a "one-stop-shop" planning resource for stakeholder organizations working to improve the state's Great Lakes region. When finalized, the Great Lakes Action Agenda will enhance New York's strategic approach to effectively address the highest priority actions, assist stakeholders in leveraging financial resources and human capital, and create opportunities for basinwide communication, coordination and partnership.
The Great Lakes Action Agenda is strategically aligned with the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan, which has brought more than $50 million to New York's Great Lakes region since 2010. Recommendations set forth by New York's Oceans and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation initiative, Regional Economic Development Councils, and the NYS 2100 Commission Report are also integrated into the agenda. It is a five-year plan and will be updated on a regular basis to ensure that the state's evolving priorities are included.
The action agenda uses an ecosystem-based management approach to address environmental challenges in a holistic way that considers how people depend on and are integral parts of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The Great Lakes Action Agenda features innovative solutions to the most critical challenges facing New York's Great Lakes region, including contamination cleanup, water quality and conservation, restoration of fish and wildlife, waterfront revitalization and smart growth, climate change adaptation and resilience, and recreation and tourism development.
The agenda is available on DEC's website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/91881.html. Public comments on the draft Great Lakes Action Agenda will be accepted until Sept. 1, and may be submitted to [email protected].
DEC's Great Lakes Watershed Program will continue working with stakeholders. A series of regional workgroup meetings will be held later this year to solicit final stakeholder input, coordinate stakeholder activities, and initiate a collaborative approach to implementing the goals set forth in this agenda.