Monday, October 10, 2011
Great Lakes Water Shed
What caught my eye was the limited extent of the great lakes watershed itself and particularly as expressed in the
The exception there is United
This actually means that the two
dominant polities are just two and that is Michigan Ontario
Actually accomplishing something is
actually much easier than I thought.
Every other state has an interest but not a dominant one. Michigan
Agriculturally, the interest is somewhat narrower but the basic pattern holds true.
The important consideration that needs to be addressed is how to optimize this huge watershed. For the present, it has all been by reaction as one fresh invader after another rips through the environment. This has been a source of consternation for two centuries.
My own experience informs me that riverine restoration and outright management and direct commercial exploitation needs to be fully integrated with all stakeholders. I grew up there and have posted many suggestions. The rivers need to be forested properly and not just in some ill planned imposed system either. The edges need to be made impervious to large herbivores. I have suggested a forest edge composed of staggered hawthorns and a verge amply seeded with chamomile to protect crop land.
Thereafter the woodlands themselves need to be actively managed and the the rivers themselves will quickly restore their working banks and be a natural host to an active spawning environment supporting a huge
All that remains is to control industrial pollution properly so that it might be possible to eat the product of that fishery.
Great Lakes proposal envisions Canadians, Americans working together
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Oct. 06, 2011 7:53PM EDT
firm best known for creating some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world has
turned its creative eye to the Great Lakes,
advocating for a new economic and environmental vision that spans borders.
The bi-national blueprint from Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill is still in its infancy, but the concept has garnered support from several mayors in
Canada and the .
The proposal calls on the two nations to re-imagine the Great Lakes and St.
Lawrence River region as a shared space, where Canadians and Americans work
together to protect waterways, ease traffic congestion, promote tourism and
develop new economic ventures. United States
“This isn’t a collection of lakes that divides two countries. This is a collection of lakes that should unite two countries,” said Philip Enquist, one of the firm’s senior urban designers.
The bi-national vision, presented this week at a global green-building conference in
isn’t so far-fetched. The Brookings Institution in Toronto Washington
and Mowat Centre in
have been studying the idea, consulting 250 business, government and community
leaders. The public-policy think tanks will present their regional blueprint at
an international Great Lakes water-quality meeting in Toronto next week. Detroit
Genesis of a vision
At first blush, the pairing of the
and an architectural company seems odd. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill has built a
global design empire with such towering wonders as the iconic John Hancock
Center and Sears Tower in Chicago and downtown Dubai’s spiralling Burj Khalifa,
which, at 828 metres, is the tallest building on the planet.
But when the firm was asked to draft a vision to mark the centennial of the 1909 Burnham Plan that helped shape Chicago, Mr. Enquist, who’s done regional planning in China and Bahrain, began wondering why there wasn’t a holistic strategy for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River area.
And so Skidmore, Owings and Merrill began envisioning an environmental and economic plan.
The environmental case
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence
River region is massive, encompassing Ontario, Quebec and eight
states. It contains about 84 per cent of U.S. North America’s
fresh water and almost 18,000 kilometres of lake frontage. Nearly a third of
Canadians and about a tenth of Americans live here, in more than 15,000 towns
The National Parks Conservation Association, a U.S. advocacy group, and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, which includes about 80 mayors from both sides of the border, have joined the push for a bi-national strategy. The proposal urges greater collaboration to improve water quality and conservation. The plan also calls for the designation of a Great Lakes international park, which would increase the region’s cachet, said Lynn McClure, a regional director with the
parks group. U.S.
The economic argument
Unlike provinces and states in the Pacific Northwest that forged formal economic and political alliances two decades ago, the Great Lakes-St.
have an entrenched culture of co-operation, observes Josh Hjartarson, policy
director at Mowat Centre. Rather, the jurisdictions are more accustomed to
competing for tourists, manufacturers and other economic opportunities. Lawrence
But with the manufacturing sector waning in many parts of the
Great Lakes and glum forecasts of a deepening economic
downturn, Mr. Hjartarson says the region should forge closer ties to capitalize
on its assets. Those would include top-notch educational institutions, a wealth
of corporate head offices and a population of 105 million people. New
industries could be created through stronger co-operation. Mr. Enquist, the
urban designer, points to renewable energy and green technology as possible
opportunities for the region.
“Given the economic crisis that’s taken place, I think there’s a sense of urgency that’s being developed to try and get this group to work together,” added the Windsor mayor, whose city has grappled with the decline of auto manufacturing.
“The region has an ability to compete. It’s either we work together or lose together,” he said.