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DEC updates Great Lakes Action Agenda to guide restoration, protection & revitalization of New York's Great Lakes region


Wed, Jul 19th 2023 08:40 pm

DEC: Strategic action plan advances efforts to safeguard water quality, improve habitats for fish & wildlife, manage invasive species, promote sustainability, enhance resilience to climate change

Submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today released an updated New York’s Great Lakes Action Agenda (GLAA) 2023, a strategic, ecosystem-based action plan to guide restoration and conservation and foster sustainable, resilient communities in New York's Great Lakes region.

The GLAA advances a wide range of efforts to safeguard water quality, improve habitats for fish and wildlife, manage invasive species, promote sustainability, and enhance community resilience to climate change. The region spans more than 40% of New York state's land area and includes Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and contributing watersheds.

"The updated Great Lakes Action Agenda builds on the strong partnerships established under the first agenda released in 2014, which is helping guide the successful implementation of projects to benefit the region’s environment, public health, and economy," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "The Great Lakes Action Agenda sustains and strengthens DEC’s collaborative relationships with federal, state and local partners, and ensures present and future generations are able to enjoy the Great Lakes for years to come."

The updated GLAA integrates new actions to advance New York’s priorities to implement natural and nature-based resilience measures, protect drinking water sources, and address emerging contaminants. New cross-cutting priorities reflect New York’s commitment to inclusion and engagement of diverse stakeholders and historically underserved and disadvantaged communities. The GLAA also includes new metrics to evaluate implementation progress and improvements in environmental conditions over time. The updated Action Agenda is available on the DEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/91881.html.

Building on the foundation of the first GLAA released in 2014, the updated plan provides a shared vision and blueprint for achieving healthy Great Lakes lands and waters through coordinated, collective action by the many federal, state and local partner organizations working throughout the watershed.

The GLAA is funded by the state's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), under the Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act, and is administered through DEC's Great Lakes Program with collaborating stakeholders and partners. The EPF is a critical resource for environmental programs such as climate change mitigation, land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, recreation access, water quality improvement, and environmental justice projects.

In the 2023-24 state budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history.

The release of the updated GLAA coincides with the development of the fourth federal action plan for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which will guide federal restoration and protection investments in the region through 2029. Since 2010, nearly $270 million in GLRI funding has been secured for Great Lakes projects in New York state.

priorities, and to provide input on key priorities that support New York’s GLAA.

More information on the GLRI is available at https://glri.us/action-plan#engage. Comments or questions can be shared with EPA by emailing [email protected].

DEC's Great Lakes Program will also be hosting public engagement workshops and sub-basin work group meetings within New York’s Great Lakes sub-basins to facilitate additional partnerships, support local priorities for implementation, and engage with underserved and environmental justice areas to benefit from GLAA implementation.

To learn more and to get involved with regional sub basin work groups to support implementation, contact [email protected].

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