A visit with Michigan Senator Gary Peters and other legislative activities
The Great Lakes Observing System recently co-hosted a visit by Michigan Senator Gary Peters. The senator visited the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Ann Arbor to meet with GLOS, NOAA, the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research and other partners, all of whom are housed at the facility.
Peters sits on committees that intersect the interests of the Great Lakes research community. He serves on the subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard as well as the subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. His visit gave him the opportunity to tour the lab and learn about the technology that supports Great Lakes research.
The senator also had time for a brief town hall with staff before heading back to Washington. Questions naturally turned to budgets, and the senator addressed questions about support for all of the activities coming out of the lab.
“We’re going to make sure you have what you need to do,” Peters told the gathering. “From weather prediction, marine sanctuaries, to understanding algal blooms, what you produce is so important.”
The omnibus spending bill passed on Friday, March 23, but congress continues to appropriate for FY19. While FY17 was slated at $35 million, congress increased the IOOS regional budget an additional $4.3 million for FY18.
The visit with Senator Peters isn’t the only educating in which GLOS has been engaged.
February saw the Northeast Midwest Institute‘s Great Lakes Environmental Summit take place, with a discussion of upcoming federal legislative priorities and opportunities attended by members of congress, key congressional staff, and Great Lakes stakeholders. GLOS Executive Director Kelli Paige attended and took the opportunity to meet with congressional staff in partnership with from Ohio offices along with Cleveland Water Alliance and the Lake Carriers Association to talk about data needs for Lake Erie stakeholders.
In the first week of March, GLOS staffers headed back to Washington. The Integrated Ocean Observing System, of which GLOS is a regional association, hosts an annual meeting in or near Washington D.C. Staff from eleven regions join together with staff from IOOS, NOAA and other partner organizations.
The meeting is devoted to reviewing priorities, budgeting, and leveraging partnerships. Attendees also got to hear from some notable colleagues, including Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere for the Department of Commerce in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who discussed priorities for the new administration, and gave the opportunity for each IOOS region to highlight local needs and successes.
Other staff attended the Great Lakes Commission’s semiannual meeting, which overlapped the events with IOOS. The commissioners gather over several days to review issues, attend presentations and many of the attendees in the audience join to learn more about issues and ultimately join in visits to elected officials later in the week.
GLOS offered observer comments.
You can help.
It’s important to share our story, and yours, with those who represent us in the nation’s capital. Researchers use our data, as do boaters, anglers, and swimmers. Water treatment facilities can work more efficiently with real-time data, and we all know how important that can be. Please be sure to reach out to Great Lakes elected officials about the importance of open data, and how it directly benefits people in the Great Lakes. We appreciate your support for GLOS, and if you would like help in crafting your message to congress please feel free to contact Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.