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DEC releases action plan draft for state’s Great Lakes region

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A new action plan from the state Department of Environmental Conservation is attempting to integrate binational, federal and state goals into a single document to be shared by stakeholders that work around the Great Lakes basin areas.

“We hope this is more than a plan, it’s the planning tools,” said Shannon M. Dougherty, Great Lakes Watershed coordinator for the department.

Much of Jefferson County that borders Lake Ontario falls in the Northeast Lake Ontario-St.Lawrence sub-basin, though southern portions of the county fall into the Southeastern Lake Ontario sub-basin.

DEC officials sought several sources of input to create the five-year plan, including the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan, the state’s Oceans and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation initiative, Regional Economic Development Councils and the NYS 2100 Commission Report.

“Each organization, whether it’s a state agency or a nonprofit or an academic institution, they each have a different mission, even if it varies slightly,” Ms. Dougherty said.

Some of the goals for the action plan are eliminating discharges of toxic substances, controlling the release of sediment, combating invasive species and conserving wildlife and water supply in the lakes.

Input will be accepted until Sept. 1. Comments may be sent to glakes@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

The department said in a news release that it would also host a series of regional meetings in an attempt to solicit additional comments about the plan.

A copy of the action plan draft can be found at http://wdt.me/6N9fsu.

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