The Great Lakes National Program Office oversees and helps all Great Lakes stakeholders* work together in an integrated, ecosystem approach to protect, maintain, and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes.
* (Federal, state, tribal, local, governments; non-government organizations; industry; and private citizens)
USEPA's Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO), located in Chicago, Illinois, has a staff of 46 and a budget of almost $15 million. GLNPO brings together Federal, state, tribal, local, and industry partners in an integrated, ecosystem approach to protect, maintain, and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes. The program monitors Lake ecosystem indicators; manages and provides public access to Great Lakes data; helps communities address contaminated sediments in their harbors; supports local protection and restoration of important habitats; promotes pollution prevention through activities and projects such as the Canada-U.S. Binational Toxics Strategy (BNS); and provides assistance for community-based Remedial Action Plans for Areas of Concern and for Lakewide Management Plans. Each year, GLNPO uses its funding to assist Great Lakes partners in these areas through grants, interagency agreements, and contracts.
GLNPO was established in November 1977 by combining the EPA Region 5 Office of Great Lakes Coordinator (policy) with the Great Lakes Surveillance Branch of the EPA Region 5 Surveillance and Analysis Division (science). The Great Lakes Surveillance Branch had been established in September 1974 at which time the EPA Great Lakes open lake monitoring program was established with the acquisition of the 122 ft. research ship, R/V Roger R. Simons from the U.S. Navy.
GLNPO was EPA's first geographically-based (the entire Great Lakes basin) rather than media-based (air, water, etc.) office. It is responsible for coordinating federal activities with those of other Great lakes governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Thus, its responsibilities cut across the jurisdictions of 3 EPA Regions (2, 3, and 5), 8 States (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York), 2 Canadian Provinces (Ontario and Quebec), 33 U.S. Tribes, 64 Canadian First Nations, 83 U.S. Counties, and thousands of municipalities.
The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) with Canada provide the basis for our international efforts to manage this shared resource. Additional responsibilities are defined in Section 118 of the Clean Water Act, Section 112 of the Clean Air Act Amendments, and the Great Lakes Critical Programs Act of 1990. The Great Lakes 5-Year Strategy, developed jointly by EPA and its multi-state, multi-Agency partners and built on the foundation of the GLWQA, provides the agenda for Great Lakes ecosystem management: reducing toxic substances; protecting and restoring important habitats; and protecting human/ecosystem species health.