The Great Lakes are the heart and soul of our shared economies, cultures, recreation, and personal and collective quality of life. Over three days in early October, the governments of Canada and the United States will tell us how the lakes are faring, based on the goals and objectives they’re trying to reach in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
The conference is free and open to all who want to attend on Oct. 4-6 at the Allstream Centre in Toronto. Tuesday and Wednesday’s presentations will focus on Areas of Concern, chemicals of mutual concern, groundwater, algal blooms, habitat, climate change and aquatic invasive species. On Thursday the program switches to celebrating the lakes and the variety of people and organizations who are creating innovative solutions to issues challenging the Great Lakes. A complete program outline and registration information is available at binational.net.
The IJC will hold a special session at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to hear meeting participants’ views about what the governments have accomplished to restore and protect the Great Lakes. You can sign up to speak during the session via IJC.org.
The IJC wants to hear from you about:
- What government programs are working and which aren’t?
- Does the governments’ progress report tell you what you want to know?
- Have they focused on the most important challenges?
- What issues do you feel are most pressing for the Great Lakes – in your area and for the Great Lakes as a whole?
– What additional actions are needed?
We’ll hold another meeting at Toronto’s City Hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday to talk with residents about the region’s unique issues and the variety of ways they are working to revitalize the waterfront and their part of Lake Ontario. You can register for this conversation via IJC.org.
The IJC’s primary role in the Agreement is to assess the effectiveness of programs, report on progress and recommend further actions and issues to be addressed. So we will listen closely to what conference attendees say and to everyone else’s comments provided in Toronto, online and in subsequent public meetings.
Your views are essential for the IJC to assess progress to accomplish the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement’s goals and objectives, and they will be included in the IJC’s report on progress, to be released in draft form in January 2017. We look forward to talking with you about our collective heart and soul – the Great Lakes.