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Caucus meets in Chicago, selects two legislators to lead bipartisan, binational group starting in 2023

Joined by leading policy experts and scientists on the Great Lakes, state and provincial legislators came to Chicago in September for a weekend devoted to learning about how and why to protect the largest freshwater system in the world. 

The binational, bipartisan Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus is unique in its composition and focus. 

Counting legislators from all 10 jurisdictions of the Great Lakes basin (eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces) as members, the GLLC’s mission is to strengthen the role of state and provincial lawmakers in policies that impact the Great Lakes and the region’s other water resources.

The group’s Annual Meeting is central to this mission, providing a forum for legislators to exchange ideas and innovations with one another and leading experts. Topics for the 2022 meeting included controlling the spread of invasive species, reducing nutrient pollution, cleaning up Areas of Concern, and addressing the problem of PFAS contamination. The meeting also featured a session on the impact of climate change in the Great Lakes region (see pages 4 and 5 for more information).

Read overview of topics and sessions from the 2022 meeting »

New leadership team on board

For the past several years, Illinois Rep. Robyn Gabel and Minnesota Rep. Jennifer Schultz have led the caucus as its chair and vice chair, respectively. Gabel led this year’s meeting in Chicago. However, the caucus regularly rotates its two-officer team, and at the September meeting, members elected Wisconsin Sen. André Jacque as incoming chair and Illinois Sen. Laura Fine as incoming vice chair. Their terms begin in 2023.

Additionally, the caucus has an Executive Committee made up of legislators from all 10 jurisdictions. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please contact CSG Midwest director Mike McCabe at mmccabe@csg.org or 630.925.1922.

CSG Midwest provides staff support to the caucus, which also receives financial support from the Joyce Foundation, the Erb Family Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Next year’s GLLC Annual Meeting will be held Sept. 8-9 in Québec City. 

Caucus membership is free and open to all legislators from the Great Lakes states and provinces. Visit greatlakeslegislators.org to become a member.

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EPA Continues Funding for Great Lakes Wetlands Monitoring with New Grant

Ten organizations recently received grant to continue their research in monitoring the Great Lakes coastal wetlands.

The teams monitor all wetland wildlife including birds, fish, bugs, plants, and amphibians around the Great Lakes. The data they collect is evaluated to determine if environmental changes are natural or the result of human activity.  It is then used for protection and restoration efforts.

“But up here where we can make sure that we’re not slipping, we’re not letting things accidentally get degraded just cause we’re not watching.  This makes sure that we’re watching and making sure that we keep Lake Superior as healthy as it can be,” said Valerie Brady, an aquatic ecologist for University of Minnesota.

The grant money will allow Great Lakes researchers to monitor 1,000 wetlands through 2025.