Making the Great Lakes Better: GLRI – Four Letters You Should Know.

By Cameron Davis

On Friday, we asked you to share your stories about what the lakes mean to you. Many of you responded with inspiring accounts of how they have impacted your lives, a particularly fond memory, or what you think of when you think of your HOMES. That sentiment is exactly the inspiration behind what we call the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, or GLRI.

In 2010, President Obama launched the GLRI to help restore and maintain the health and economy of the lakes. Many federal agencies worked together on the GLRI Action Plan (a pdf copy is available at to guide millions of dollars in federal investment focusing on habitat restoration, preventing toxics, reducing polluted runoff, beating back invasive species and ensuring accountability. This money helps protect the places where people live, work and play. The late Washington Post columnist David Broder called the Initiative a truly bipartisan enterprise. He said, “I can’t think of a better way to show that government can work.”

When Congress approved funding for 2010 and 2011, it wanted to make sure solid science underpinned the action plan. EPA announced a panel of 16 eminent, independent scientists to review the initiative. You can participate in the Science Advisory Board review and help shape the Initiative during their deliberations on July 12 and 13 in Chicago. For more information on the meeting locations, how to register to speak and how to submit written comments, visit.

Your stories showed how we have been making progress on restoring the lakes, but we can’t stop there. You can do your part to help. Whether its participating in the Science Advisory Board review or simply just using less water every day, or cleaning up a local beach – every little bit counts. Have you done something lately to help the Great Lakes? Let us know what you have done by sharing it in the comments section below.

To find out more about our Great Lakes restoration efforts and things you can do to help, visit, or follow me on Twitter (CameronDavisEPA).

About the author: Cameron Davis is Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. He provides counsel on Great Lakes matters, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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