An annual conference that highlights restoration efforts and needs across the Great Lakes will be back in Buffalo in October, the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition announced Monday.
The 13th annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference will be held Oct. 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency at Fountain Plaza.
It's the three-day conference's first visit to Buffalo since 2010.
Since 2010, the conference has been hosted by Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Chicago and Sandusky.
Organizers said the conference attracts more than 350 people from around the Great Lakes to talk about issues affecting its waters.
Great Lakes restoration work could be in its most precarious spot in years after President Donald J. Trump's 2017-18 budget proposal failed to provide $300 million in annual funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Coalition officials said Monday they'll be watching events in Washington closely this week as Congress prepares to finalize its budget.
"We will be looking to our Great Lakes champions in the U.S. House and Senate to maintain Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding at $300 million, support robust funding for the Clean Water and the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, as well as to pass a clean budget bill free of anti-restoration, anti-clean water, and anti-environmental provisions," said Jordan Lubetkin, communications director for the National Wildlife Federation.
The annual Great Lakes conference consists of presentations and field trips on a range of regional topics.
Last year's event in Sandusky, Ohio, included presentations about toxic algae, Flint's water crisis and re-use of dredged lake sediment among others.
Field trips included a trip on Lake Erie, a paddle tour and visit to a marsh conservancy.
Organizers are currently seeking "engaging and compelling proposals for both field trips and presentations" for 2017, the coalition said.
In Buffalo, field trips could include areas in Western New York or eastern Lake Erie.
"The Coalition is seeking fun, educational, inspiring and creative proposals for field trips in Western New York to highlight restoration success stories, community projects, environmental challenges, and cultural landmarks," it stated in its request for proposals.
It also seeks presentations on a variety of issues including:
- National/regional/state/local Great Lakes policy issues.
- Innovative Great Lakes restoration success stories.
- Addressing environmental injustices.
- Grassroots action that makes a difference.
- Emerging issues in the Great Lakes.
- Skills, training and organizational development.
Submissions should be made by May 26.
More information regarding applications and registration is available on the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition's website.
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