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Great Lakes Small Harbor Coalition (GLSHC)

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Posted via the request of surrounding county representatives:

TOURNAMENT FISHERMEN – THE GREAT LAKES SMALL HARBOR

COALITION NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT

Many of you may not have heard of the Great Lakes Small Harbor Coalition (GLSHC), so in case you

haven’t let me bring you up-to-date. Less than two years ago, we started a mission on behalf of the 57

Federal Harbor communities of Michigan. Now, as we begin 2010, we are an organization focused on

supporting the dredging and infrastructure needs of all federally authorized harbors in the Great Lakes.

This is remarkable growth for the amount of time we’ve been working together on these issues. We

represent 75 percent of the communities with federally authorized harbors in Michigan and resolutions

of support are now coming from other states. We now have 75 resolutions representing 1.7 million

citizens.

When we began in February 2008, we had just experienced a year of no funding for shallow draft

harbors and very minimal funding to dredge our commercial harbors. Ships were going aground and

being light loaded, lives were endangered, even lost, due to silted-in harbor channels. The Coalition,

therefore, was founded to represent the collective voice of our harbor communities, to get immediate

funds for critically needed dredging and meet a longer term goal to reach “an equitable, sustainable,

and needs based budget process†for maintaining all Michigan Great Lakes Federal Harbors, and

eventually all Federal Harbors of the Great Lakes. From the very beginning we had and continue to

have, the extremely valuable and active support of Sea Grant, Michigan Boating Industries Association,

and the Great Lakes Commission. Further, our Michigan senators have been visibly engaged with the

Coalition, a number Congressional Representatives have worked in your behalf, and the U.S. Army Corps

of Engineers has proven their support in presence and deeds.

For the second consecutive year (2009 and 2010) the Coalition worked with Senators Levin and

Stabenow, and Congressional Representatives and have received a $6 million lump sum funding

as an add to the Administration’s proposed budget—a two-year total of $12 million or $210,000

average for Michigan’s 57 harbor communities. This was a specific request by your Coalition,

came in addition to the Administration’s Budget and Stimulus Funds, and has or will result in 26

harbor dredging;

As authorized by attendees at our state-wide meeting in May 2009, and in an effort to achieve

our Mission Statement, we have now moved forward in expanding the Coalition Great Lakes

wide—becoming the Great Lakes Small Harbor Coalition with potential backing of 8 states, 119

harbor communities, 16 Senators and 135 Representatives;

Kick-off meetings were held this fall in Ohio and New York with great enthusiasm and support

by harbor communities, counties, fishing organizations, Sea Grant, legislators, and marine

associations. Already we have received ten official resolutions of support from the harbor

related governments and advocate organization--3 from Ohio and 7 from New York;

We expect to have similar kick-off meetings in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana this spring;

Meanwhile, the Coalition plans to work with the appropriate congressional members from

Michigan, Ohio, and New York, and with the Detroit and Buffalo Districts of the USACE, to obtain

support for lump sum appropriations to meet dredging and high priority infra-structure projects

in 2011—such requests must be submitted by early February, 2010;

The Coalition will accomplish its mission thru the collective voice of grass-roots citizens

throughout the Great Lakes, and with the support of like minded advocate organizations

anywhere in the nation;

Lastly, the Coalition is in the process of developing a formal structure, with an organizational

structure and advisory body, possibly under the umbrella of the Great Lakes Commission. Such

structure will permit a greater opportunity to seek grants, sponsors, and contributions to begin

funding the needs of our Coalition. Once this structure has been developed, it will be forwarded

to all members for comment and approval (possibly at a meeting in April or May).

In closing, I think you will agree our list of accomplishments over the past two years has been

impressive. However, with the depressed economic situation, the difficulty of obtaining funds to

maintain our harbors will likely continue into the future. The ability to maintain access to our ports

is essential to the continued economic development of our port cities and the growth of the fishing

community. In order for us to maintain our progress into the future we need to continue to expand our

support base. You as tournament fishermen, know better than most the economic value of maintaining

access to our great fishery and that is why we are asking for your support in spreading the word about

GLSHC. For further information on how you can help, please make contact as indicated below.

Chuck May, Chair Pro Tem

Great Lakes Small Harbor Coalition

[email protected]

www.miseagrant.umich.edu/harbors

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I'd be all in favor of this if it's priority was to dredge places like Braddocks, Sandy, the Oak, Port Bay etc, however, they're not federally recognized harbors.

On the other hand, Buffalo, Rochester & Oswego are, but they're plenty deep for fishermen & sailboaters.

“an equitable, sustainable, and needs based budget processâ€
- pardon my suspicion, but one word in that quote bothers me - "sustainable." My personnal opinion is that turbine boats should chip in considerably towards dredging any harbor they're going to use.

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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