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November 15, 1996

Contact:
Windsor/Detroit Marty Bratzel (519)257-6701 or (313)226-2170
Ottawa Geoff Thornburn (613)995-2984
Washington Frank Bevacqua (202)736-9024

International Joint Commission Announces Expanded Public
Consultation For the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Expanded public consultation is essential to evaluate progress to restore, preserve, and protect the Great Lakes, concludes the International Joint Commission. The Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, first signed in 1972, committed both federal governments to wideranging programs to achieve this goal. Recognizing the complexity of today's environmental issues, including the impact of persistent toxic substances on health, invasions of non-native species such as the zebra mussel, and shoreline and watershed development, more active involvement of all sectors of the Great Lakes community is essential.

While governments have primary responsibility to restore and report on the environmental quality of the Great Lakes, the Commission has responsibility to evaluate progress and its timeliness. Central to the Commission's evaluation is advice and insight provided by the public. In the 25 years since the Agreement was first signed, the Commission has used many different consultation approaches. To more actively involve the Great Lakes community in Agreement issues, the Commission has recently expanded is consultation program.

Consultation is being undertaken through a variety of means, including workshops, roundtables, focus group interviews, and written advice from Great Lakes sectors. The process will culminate in an Agreement Public Forum, to be held November 1-2, 1997 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Commission will also bring together Great Lakes community representatives to develop an action plan and to implement solutions to problems.

The Commission's expanded consultation process will provide opportunity for people to express views on Agreement progress, encourage action and change, encourage accountability by governments and all Great Lakes community sector groups, identify issues and possible solutions, and further develop a sense of community.

The advice received through expanded consultation will provide a broad basis for the Commission's Ninth Biennial Report to governments, to be released in 1998. That report will contain advice and recommendations to achieve the Agreement goal to restore, preserve, and protect the Great Lakes.

The public consultation strategy provides further details.

The International Joint Commission was created by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty to prevent and resolve disputes over the use of the waters along the United States and Canada boundary. For additional information about the Commission and the strategy, contact and of the Commission offices as listed below, or visit the Commission's web site on the Internet at:

http://www.ijc.org

For further information contact Doug Bondy at the International Joint Commission Regional Office, 100 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor, Ontario (519-257-6707) or P.O. Box 32869, Detroit, Michigan (313-226-2170) or on the Internet: bondyd@windsor.ijc.org

OR
Frank Bevacqua at the International Joint Commission United States Section, 1250 23rd Street N.W., Suite 100, Washington, D.C. (202)736-9000 or on the Internet: bevacquaf@washington.ijc.org
OR
Geoff Thornburn at the International Joint Commission Canadian Section, 100 Metcalfe St., 18th Floor, Ottawa ON K1P 5M1 (613)995-2984 or on the Internet: thornburng@ottawa.ijc.org

URL: http://www.ijc.org
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