The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration
The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) was a wide-ranging, cooperative effort to design and implement a strategy for the restoration, protection and sustainable use of the Great Lakes. In 2003, at the request of a Great Lakes congressional delegation and as a first step in providing the leadership and coordination all agree is needed, the Great Lakes governors identified nine priorities for Great Lakes restoration and protection. Since their release, these priorities have been adopted by the Great Lakes mayors, the Great Lakes Commission and other Great Lakes leaders. Eight of these priorities formed the organizing principles for the GLRC Strategy. Since the governors' priority regarding water use and diversion was already being addressed through on-going binational efforts to implement what became the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, it was not dealt with by the GLRC Strategy.
In May 2004 President Bush issued an Executive Order, which recognized the Great Lakes as a "national treasure" and created a federal Great Lakes Interagency Task Force to improve federal coordination on the Great Lakes. The Order also directed the U.S. EPA Administrator to convene a "regional collaboration of national significance for the Great Lakes." This collaboration process was needed to develop, by consensus, the national restoration and protection action plan for the Great Lakes.
After extensive discussions, the Interagency Task Force, Council of Great Lakes Governors, Great Lakes Cities Initiative, Native American Tribes, and Great Lakes Congressional Task Force signed a Declaration and agreed to a Framework Document that signified the convening of the Collaboration in December 2004. A framework was developed to guide the collaboration process designed to develop, by consensus, a strategy and action plan to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Since then, the Collaboration developed a Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes which was released on December 12, 2005.
On March 15, 2006, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration issued the GLRC Implementation Framework to describe how the GLRC will be organized to ensure that the shared commitment to use the GLRC Strategy to guide future efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes is met in an ongoing manner.
Key Great Lakes Regional Collaboration partners included:
- Council of Great Lakes Governors (now the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers)
- Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
- Great Lakes Congressional Task Force
- Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes National Program Office