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Interstate Water Management Committee Meeting Summary January 20, 2021–Discussion with Tim Bruno, PA DEP–A state’s perspective on Great Lakes Basin water organizations

  1. Call to Order—Chair Drew Dehoff, SRBC—Called to order at 10:04 a.m. Central
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Drew Dehoff, Chair; Sue Lowry; Kim Lutz, Brian Atkins, Rhonda Manning, Lauren Salvato, Shawn Jackson, Pooja Kanwar, Sam Swartz, Timothy Bruno, Amy Shallcross, Ken Brazil.  

Tim is the Chief of the Office of Great Lakes for Pennsylvania and works out of Erie, PA.  His office coordinates with the other 7 Great Lake states and 2 Canadian provinces as well as non-profits on water use and water quality challenges. Tim noted that  $300M/year is budgeted to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative;  84% of the fresh water in No. America is in the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes have 4500 miles of coastline—PA has 77 of those coastal miles.

Tim then detailed some of the agreements and organizations in the Great Lakes Basin: Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement—first signed between US and Canada in 1972.  A second agreement signed in 1978. Amendments made in 2012 reorganized the agreement with 10 annexes which focus on the various areas of concern. Nutrients on Lake Erie high interest topic, particularly nutrients from non-point sources.  Water Use concerns in the Great Lakes basin led to Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Agreement. The Compact was ratified by Congress and the Agreement includes the Canadian provinces; both formed in 2008.  Ban on new or increased diversions from the basin with 3 exceptions:  Straddling communities, Intra basin trainers, straddling counties and require unanimous consent of all 8 governors.  Has only happened once.   Great Lakes Commission—created in 1955 by the Great Lakes Basin Compact and took 13 years to get Congressional approval.  Ontario and Quebec joined via Declaration of Partnership in 1999.  Not regulatory.   International Joint Commission—created by Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909–dam and hydro projects and water quality agreements.  Great Lakes Fishery Commission success in sea lamprey reduction. 

  • Update of the 2006 Interstates Report  
    • Primer, Final Report and Executive Summary all now on-line
    • Additional promotion of availability?—Roundtable and social media opportunities
  • Intern Topics related to Interstate river management—In the announcement circulated to universities seeking interested students, one possible intern project was non-governmental sources of funding for river basin organizations.  
  • Raising visibility of intestate compact commissions/organizations to Biden administration

Getting Interstate-related Principle statements to appointees as they are named would be good first step in educating new administration personnel on the importance of interstate river basin organizations. 

  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration/2021 Workplan
    • Other issues for committee presentations 
      • Great Lakes various organizations—after this great introduction to the various organizations from Tim, Tim will make appropriate connections from representatives of other Great Lakes entities to ICWP for possible future webinars. 
      • Compact case studies
  • Next call or webinar—set date  for March 23 and Peter Johnson from the Conference of Great Lakes Governors and Premiers will be the speaker.