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W E E K L Y     U P D A T E   October 14, 2015
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NEMWI Briefing Recap: The Great Lakes Seaway Navigation System
The Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership co-hosted a breakfast briefing on the Great Lakes Seaway Navigation System on October 7, 2015. More than 50 people were in attendance to learn about the economic impacts, system investments, and maritime trade opportunities ongoing in the Great Lakes Seaway Navigation System.
  • Representatives Mike Kelly (PA), Dan Benishek (MI), and Sean Duffy (WI) kicked off the briefing with remarks on: the importance of membership in the NEMW Coalition and the Great Lakes Task Force, bipartisan support for repair of the Soo Locks, and the importance of bipartisan advocacy on behalf of the Great Lakes in the face of great financial pressure on the federal government, respectively.
  • Betty Sutton, Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, described the economic and political importance of the Seaway. The Great Lakes account for one fifth of the world's fresh water and half of the Fortune 500 industrial companies have their headquarters in the Great Lakes region, which connects the world's two largest trading partners (U.S. and Canada).
  • Dr. John Martin, President of Martin Associates, described the economic importance of maritime commerce on the system and raised several opportunities (such as industrial development and clean energy) and challenges (such as maintenance dredging and ice breaking).
  • Four panelists provided further insight "from the field." Mark Barker, President of the Interlake Steamship Company, discussed the magnitude and carrying capacity of the domestic fleet and the steps they are taking to reduce emissions. Paul LaMarre, Director of the Port of Monroe, Michigan, emphasized the importance of the 100 Great Lakes ports, which work as a single system. Peter Johnson, Deputy Director of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, discussed the organization's maritime initiative to better position the system and its potential. Jessie Perkins, Director of Government Relations for the American Iron and Steel Institute, talked about the productivity of the system from an industry perspective.
  • Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH) provided inspirational closing remarks, calling for creative, unified, and bi-partisan thinking about the future of the seaway, something she would like to see represented in the federal transportation re-authorization bill.
For more information, please contact Colleen Cain, Sr. Policy Analyst at the Northeast-Midwest Institute.  
Lake Erie Water Quality Study Continues to Inform
Regional Stakeholders
Findings from the NEMWI study evaluating water quality data in the Lake Erie drainage basin were presented  at the Great Lakes Observing System Annual Meeting on October 7, 2015 
by  Elin Betanzo, Senior Policy Analyst at the Northeast-Midwest Institute . Betanzo was invited to the meeting to share how the study can inform future monitoring and data sharing efforts.
For the Lake Erie study, tributary water data from the U.S. side of the Lake Erie drainage basin were collected from all known monitoring entities, but it turns out that 26 percent of the monitoring sites and only 8 percent of the monitoring records evaluated for the study are available through the Water Quality Portal, an internet portal that provides access to major federal water quality databases. Further, missing documentation made those data difficult to interpret or analyze; nearly one year of data processing was necessary to support the study. To make available water data more accessible for answering new policy questions, common data-management standards, data-entry protocols, and consistent naming and coding conventions are needed. Use of data sharing systems should be standardized to maximize the value of water data already collected.
The Lake Erie monitoring study also demonstrates that stakeholders responsible for all types of data needed to answer a priority water policy question need to be part of the monitoring design process. The stakeholders must work together to select appropriate monitoring sites, cooperate with collecting water and supporting data at the selected monitoring sites, ensure compatible sampling plans, ensure the availability of supporting information needed to interpret water data, and identify and commit to a mechanism for data sharing.
Study files and supporting information are available here .

For more information, contact
Elin Betanzo , Sr. Policy Analyst, at the Northeast-Midwest Institute. 

NEMWI: Strengthening the Region that Sustains the Nation