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W E E K L Y  U P D A T E  January 11, 2021
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NEMWI To Host Webinar on Great Lakes Water Resiliency

Please join the Northeast-Midwest Institute for a webinar focusing on Great Lakes resiliency efforts at both the federal and state levels.

When: Wednesday, January 13th, at 11 AM ET

Focus: The Great Lakes region is experiencing record flooding events which have adversely impacted the region's economy and quality of life.  With continued record high water levels due to increased rain events across the region, the region continues to focus on new strategies to make communities more resilient. These record high water levels, and associated chronic erosion, have taxed existing aging infrastructure, some of which were designed almost a hundred years ago. Roads, bridges, wastewater and drinking water systems throughout the Great Lakes continue to be pushed beyond their original design purposes. With changing water patterns, warming lake temperatures, and other climate trends, extreme high and low lake levels look to be the norm for the foreseeable future.

Background: In 2018, the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 authorized the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, which would be led by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. This important study would begin to develop a coordinated strategy to manage and protect the Great Lakes and its coastline, and is supported by a diverse group of Great Lakes states, which have agreed to serve as the study's non-federal sponsor. Additionally, the recently enacted Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package included the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, which provided additional legislative language authorizing the Corps to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the resiliency of the Great Lakes System and make recommendations to respond to changing hydrologic and climatic conditions in the region.

Presenters: The webinar will include presentations from key Great Lakes stakeholder groups including:
  • Mr. David F. Bucaro, P.E., Chief, Project Management Section, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District
  • Mr. Eric Brown, Senior Advisor for External Relations, Great Lakes Commission
  • Mr. Matthew McKenna, Director of the Great Lakes Washington Program, Northeast-Midwest Institute
  • Mr. Mike Molnar, Deputy Director, Coastal States Organization
To Register: To RSVP for the webinar, please visit here. Additionally, if you have any questions, please email Matthew McKenna at
House Great Lakes Task Force Calls on U.S. Army Corps to Fund Great Lakes Priorities

The bipartisan House Great Lakes Task Force (GLTF) sent a bipartisan letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Rickey "R.D." James regarding the Task Force's priorities for the Great Lakes region as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers develops its FY 2021 work plan. 

Led by GLTF Co-Chairs Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), David Joyce (R-OH), and Bill Huizenga (R-MI), alongside Congressmen Bill Foster (D-IL) and Jack Bergman (R-MI) and 21 additional members of the GLTF, the letter calls for the FY 2021 workplan to include funding to continue Asian carp mitigation activities (including funding for the pre-construction engineering and design or PED phase of the Brandon Road project), to begin the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, to continue the construction of a new Soo Lock, and to continue support of the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) program. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

Additional Members who signed onto the letter included: Representatives Haley Stevens (D-MI), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Joe Morelle (D-NY), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Fred Upton (R-MI), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Andy Levin (D-MI), Sean Casten (D-IL), Peter Meijer (R-MI), John Katko (R-NY), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
Illinois and U.S. Army Corps Move Key Invasive Species Deterrent Forward

The State of Illinois and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that they have signed a preconstruction engineering and design (PED) agreement for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project last week. This project is instrumental in helping stop the movement of Asian carp from the Mississippi River Basin towards the Great Lakes.

The Brandon Road project had been initially selected by the Corps under the Great Lakes & Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS), and its construction phase was just formally authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that was passed at the end of 2020. The State of Michigan has agreed to provide $8 million of the approximately $10 million non-federal cost share of the PED phase of the project.

Congress also approved the FY 2021 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act that included additional funds for the Corps' FY 2021 workplan, which could potentially be used to provide federal funds for the PED phase, however it remains unclear if Brandon Road will be included in the final workplan in 2021.
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