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Great Lakes Protection & Restoration

Great Lakes Protection & Restoration

The Great Lakes are a precious resource

The Great Lakes are one of our most unique and precious resources, providing freshwater for 33 million of people that live within the Basin and supporting the region’s ecosystem and economy. The Great Lakes Basin contains nearly 20 percent of the earth’s fresh surface water. It is the only freshwater system of its kind in size and ecological diversity and is essential to humans and wildlife alike; providing homes, food, recreation, and economic sustainability.

Lake Erie is vitally important to Ohio’s environment and economy. The lake is a center of commerce and industry, supporting agriculture, shipping, heavy manufacturing, and electricity generation. It supplies drinking water to 11 million people, 3 million of whom live in Ohio. Lake Erie supports the largest sport fishery in the Great Lakes and the one of the largest commercial freshwater fisheries in the world, underpinning a $1 billion sport fishing industry. Lake Erie generates $8.5 billion dollars annually from fishing, tourism and travel revenue. Lake Erie is a resource worth protecting and improving, and it is clear that we need our water here at home where it can support our way of life.

The Great Lakes are at Risk

The Great Lakes are vulnerable to depletion and degradation. The Great Lakes are a vast resource, but each year rainfall and snowmelt replenish only about one percent of the water in the basin. The other 99 percent is finite and nonrenewable. That fact coupled with a growing demand for water by domestic users-including utilities, agriculture, manufacturers, and housing --and proposals to export water to other parts of the U.S. and to foreign countries, is cause for concerns about the Great Lakes’ future. Current laws are not strong enough to protect the Great Lakes. Great Lakes leaders have a responsibility to keep the region’s freshwater resources safe for future generations.

We Know How to Fix Them:

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact

After nearly five years of negotiations, the Great Lakes Governors have endorsed precedent-setting agreements to protect and conserve the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact implements the Great Lakes Charter Annex signed by the parties in 2001. The Compact provides for comprehensive water use protections throughout the Great Lakes basin. If the Compact is ratified by all eight Great Lakes states and approved by Congress, it will become legally enforceable. That enforceability is what sets this agreement apart from other Great Lakes agreements.

The proposed agreements would protect the Great Lakes from harm by implementing a strong and effective water management program. These agreements close the door on diversions to places like the Middle East and the arid Southwest US, but they also put our own house in order by protecting us from unwise water use in the basin. Importantly, the Compact allows the Great Lakes states to maintain control over Great Lakes water in the face of growing demand from across the nation and the world. The Compact guarantees the long-term protection and sound management of Great Lakes water, ensuring that they are protected for generations to come.

Ohio has introduced legislation that would allow it to become the first state to ratify the Great Lakes Compact!!

You can view the ratifying legislation HB 574 and SB 319


Click here to view the testimony that Audubon Ohio Volunteer Robin Mullet presented before the Ohio Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on behalf of this legislation.

Click here to find out how to contact your state legislator.


For more information go to: www.cglg.org or click here for a fact sheet

The Great Lakes Restoration Plan

A coalition of federal agencies, governors, mayors, Congress and state agencies have undertaken the most comprehensive planning in the history of the Great Lakes. They came together to form the Great Lakes Regional Collaborative (GLRC) which released the Great Lakes Restoration Plan in December 2005. This plan identifies the many challenges the Great Lakes faces and prioritizes how to fix them. It deserves full support and funding at the national and state level. A bill was recently introduced in Congress to implement the key provisions of the plan called the Great Lakes Collaborative Implementation Act

For a fact sheet for the Restoration Plan click here

Additional Resources:

Press Release from April 25th, 2006 - Audubon Ohio meets with Senate President Harris and Speaker Husted

Brochure on Great Lakes

To become a Great Lakes Guardian and volunteer on Audubon Ohio’s campaign to protect and restore the Great Lakes please contact Marnie Urso at murso@audubon.org