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Washington, DC – New York Sea Grant Great Lakes Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist David G. “Dave” White was among the invited guests at the White House Community Leaders Briefing on the Great Lakes Region on Wednesday.

The event was a discussion of Administration policies in the Great Lakes region. White was among the 80 environmental, business and academic leaders from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin meeting with Senior White House and Administration officials.

The Great Lakes summit discussion included remarks on business development and jobs in the Great Lakes region by U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson. New York Sea Grant (NYSG) is one of 32 university-based programs under National Sea Grant College Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and is a cooperative program of the State University of New York (SUNY) and Cornell University.

White, an award-winning educator who recently spoke at the International Marina and Boatyard Conference, said, “It is an honor to represent New York Sea Grant at this summit for the Great Lakes and to be part of a holistic approach to restoring the region’s world-class status as a great place to live, work, visit and play.”

White took the opportunity to educate the federal representatives about the need to recognize the importance of small recreation and tourism businesses to New York’s coastal communities.

“We need to raise awareness of the value of the ‘mom and pop’ businesses on the waterfront and on the bayfront that are the lifeblood of our coastal communities, and of the recreational and economic opportunities represented by our National Scenic Byways. For example, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail attracts domestic and international visitors to the 518 miles of shoreline along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and Lake Erie in two Great Lakes states: New York and Pennsylvania,” White said.

The briefing was co-hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Public Engagement. CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley said, “The Administration made unprecedented investments in restoring the Great Lakes and made it a priority to work with state, city, environmental, academic and business leaders toward lasting solutions. Today’s gathering at the White House is another important step in advancing the partnership between Federal agencies and community leaders that has fostered success for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and its goal of a healthy environment and a thriving economy for all Americans.”

New York Sea Grant, a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension resources promoting the coastal economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources, recently celebrated its 40th year of “Bringing Science to the Shore” in the Empire State.

New York Sea Grant Associate Director and Cornell Cooperative Extension Assistant Director Dr. Katherine E. Bunting-Howarth said, “New York Sea Grant Extension is indeed honored to be invited to participate in this important discussion of Great Lakes issues and to have the opportunity to network with our federal partners as well as local community interests from across the Great Lakes region.”

For updates on Sea Grant activities in New York’s Great Lakes and marine waters, go online to www.nyseagrant.org where you can subscribe to an RSS news feed and follow NYSG via social media on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

A blog for the White House Community Leaders Briefing on the Great Lakes Region is online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/02/29/great-lakes-summit-advancing-partnerships-great-lakes-restoration.

Additional Info:
  • Wayne County, NY, is one of 10 New York counties along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway.
  • The Great Lakes region has a population of more than 30 million people.
  • The waters of the Great Lakes total more than 20 percent of the world’s surface fresh water.
  • The $1 billion in federal funding provided for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative since 2009 is the largest commitment ever made in a U.S. presidential budget for the Great Lakes restoration effort.
  • Other topics of discussion at the briefing included Asian carp, ballast water discharge, addressing pollution sources, and beaches.


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