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Restoring, protecting Great Lakes topic of strategy meeting this week

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ANN ARBOR, MI (WTAQ) - Dozens of Great Lakes researchers, policymakers, and advocates will meet this week to start planning a long-term strategy to protect and restore the lakes.

Almost two dozen U.S. and Canadian research institutions announced in October they would band together to propose long-term research and policy initiatives. The first meeting of that group is set for Wednesday in Ann Arbor Michigan.

They’ll review the forces which have shaped the Great Lakes region in the past – and the forces that will shape it in the future. They include climate change, invasive species, chemical pollution, the economy, and demographics.

Jim Erickson of the University of Michigan says 10 percent of the U.S. population and 30 percent of Canada’s population live in the Great Lakes Region. And another 20 million people could move in over the next 20 years.

Donald Scavia of the Graham Sustainability Institute says now is a “critical time” for scholars and practitioners throughout the region to, “chart a more protective future” for the Great Lakes. He calls it a “precious resource.”

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