International Joint Commission launches public consultations on progress by the governments to restore and protect the Great Lakes
Over the next year, citizens throughout the Great Lakes basin can participate in a series of online and in-person discussions and meetings to provide their perspectives about progress by the governments of Canada and the United States under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Their viewpoints will contribute to the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) first assessment of progress made by the governments to restore and protect the Great Lakes under the 2012 Agreement.
"Residents of the Great Lakes basin have a vital interest in this Agreement, which embodies the spirit of cooperation between our two countries, as well as the joint goals and activities needed to restore and protect Great Lakes water quality," said Gordon Walker, chair of the IJC’s Canadian Section.
"Restoring Great Lakes water quality continues to be an ambitious undertaking, so it is critical that citizens express their views on progress to implement this Agreement and work that still needs to be done," said Lana Pollack, chair of the IJC’s US Section.
This month the two countries will issue their first report on their progress to accomplish the goals they agreed to in the Agreement, which address issues such as toxic contamination, impacts from groundwater, aquatic invasive species and climate change, and protecting native species and their habitats. The report’s release begins the IJC’s public consultation process.
First Citizen Consultation Opportunity: Great Lakes Public Forum and IJC Public Comment Session
The governments of Canada and the United States will discuss their Agreement progress and their science priorities for the next three years at their Great Lakes Public Forum, to be held at the Allstream Centre in Toronto on October 4-6, 2016. The IJC will live-stream the event with Detroit Public TV and TVO on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 4 and 5. The event can be viewed via livestream and YouTube.
The IJC will hold a public comment session as part of the Forum on Wednesday, October 5 from 4:30-6 p.m. Registration to provide a statement during this session is available at ijc.org.
Second Opportunities: Toronto and Milwaukee Public Meetings
The IJC will hold an additional public meeting for Toronto residents to share their thoughts and experiences on restoring water quality and water uses along the city’s waterfront and Lake Ontario on Wednesday evening, Oct. 5, at Toronto’s City Hall. You can register to attend at Eventbrite.
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, the IJC will hold a public meeting on the other side of the basin – in Milwaukee at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin’s College of Freshwater Sciences. Citizens can learn about the Milwaukee region’s successes and challenges to restore and protect water quality and water uses in its part of the basin, and discuss their perspectives about overall Great Lakes water quality. Register here.
Third Opportunity: ParticipateIJC
Throughout the next ten months, the IJC will host a series of monthly online discussions on its online democracy platform called ParticipateIJC. The sharing platform will include valuable information about the Agreement and provide opportunities for citizens throughout the Great Lakes region to contribute videos, photos, stories and comments, and talk with others about progress to restore and protect the lakes. It will also provide video from the Great Lakes Public Forum and other meetings held around the basin for those who cannot attend in person. ParticipateIJC will include a variety of discussion forums as well as new information as we hold public meetings in towns throughout the Great Lakes region.
The online democracy platform goes live on Sept. 20. Click here to join in the conversation.
Fourth Opportunities: IJC Triennial Assessment of Progress Report and Spring 2017 Public Meetings
Between the end of October 2016 and mid-January 2017, the IJC will pull all the information together – the governments’ progress report, its advisory boards’ reports and assessments, and citizens’ comments – to write a draft of its Triennial Assessment Report. Once that’s released in mid-January, the IJC will head back out to hear what citizens think of that report and issues they’re concerned about in their area in a series of public meetings in communities across the Great Lakes basin. The draft report and its appendices will be posted at IJC.org and on ParticipateIJC to encourage discussion and comments. A final report will be released in summer 2017 that will incorporate all scientific, policy and citizen input.