1999 Great Lakes Water Quality Forum

Taken from the closing remarks delivered by Canadian Chairman Leonard Legault at the 1999 Great Lakes Water Quality Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

"This concludes our 1999 Great Lakes Water Quality Forum. As always, we were impressed by your interest, enthusiasm and concern for the Great Lakes and the quality of their waters. We were struck by the quality of the presentations made throughout the Forum. We were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic assistance provided by the many volunteers who composed the local committee and who did so much to make our Forum a success.

"The one thing I want to assure all of you is that what you have told us, the concerns you have brought to our attention during the Forum have been heard. Let me mention one thing in particular that he have heard. We've heard concerns about symbols. Look around you and look at all the young people who are here. That's the symbol that I'm going to take away from Milwaukee. A symbol of the dedication of the public, of the average citizen, to the maintenance and restoration of the physical, biological and ecological integrity of the Great Lakes.

"I believe in symbols. I believe too in metaphor. To me, the Commission is the conscience of the governments with respect to their obligation under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. You, the public and the members of the non-governmental organizations, are the keepers of that conscience. Especially, the eloquent manifestation of your role as keepers of the conscience is your presence here and the concern expressed by that presence. I thank all of you, but particularly the very youngest among you, for your presence here gives us greater courage, enthusiasm and inspiration, to do the job that we have been appointed to do.

"We've heard a number of others things as well. I will mention only a very few. We've heard that although the Great Lakes are cleaner, there's much left to be done. We've heard some specifics about what's left to be done. Better binational coordination of LaMPs and RAPs is needed. More important still, we've been told that some jurisdictions around the Great Lakes have stopped collecting vitally needed data for the monitoring of the progress under the Agreement. We're also told that the IJC should play an important role in working to close the gaps between local groups and the federal authorities. And that the IJC should take the lead in developing a common standard for the monitoring and control of invasive exotic species.

"I would also like to express on behalf of the Commission as a whole, the gratitude to everyone who contributed to this meeting and for being so utterly devoted to making the Forum a success. Our thanks to all."

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