Binational Great Lakes panel honors coalition

HOW Coalition Policy Director Chad Lord, center, receives the SOLEC 2011 Success Story Award from Canadian Consul General Marta Moszczenska and U.S. Consul General Kevin Johnson. (Environment Canada photo)

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition was recently honored by the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference, known as SOLEC. The biennial conference, hosted by the U.S. and Canada to update efforts to restore the Great Lakes, declared the coalition a 2011 Success Story.

“The selection committee considered almost 30 nominations, and concluded that your project was one of the best in fulfilling the criteria,” SOLEC officials said in a letter to the coalition. Kevin Johnson, the U.S. Consul General in Toronto, and Marta Moszczenska, the Canadian Consul General in Buffalo. presented the award on Oct. 26, during the 2011 SOLEC conference in Erie, Pa. Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, was on hand to receive the award.

The coalition was honored for its role in developing and advocating for passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. President Obama and Congress have approved $775 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding since the program began in 2010.

The initiative is designed to speed the cleanup of toxic sites in the Great Lakes, restore fish and wildlife habitat, reduce polluted runoff and prevent new invasive species from colonizing the lake.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada host SOLEC to fulfill one of the reporting requirements in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

The goal of SOLEC is help the U.S. and Canada comply with a Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement provision “to restore and maintain the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin.”

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