Retired IJC Member Speaks On The Great Lakes

by WHIZ Reporter on March 20, 2012 at 5:41 am

A retired Commissioner with the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes was in Zanesville Tuesday.

Sam Speck spoke to members of the Zanesville Noon Rotary Club about the Great Lakes and the challenges that lie ahead.

Speck told WHIZ News that issues like climate change, invasive species, and even agricultural run-off from farms are at the forefront.

"That has created a bigger problem than it has in the past, with run-off, and that run-off is causing significant problems in the west end of Lake Erie; more than anywhere else on the great lakes. Now we’re starting to get the blue-green poisonous algae in the lake from it.," said Speck.

Speck served as a member of the Ohio House and Senate, and was named Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as well as Associate Director of FEMA under President Ronald Regan.

He was appointed by former President George W. Bush to the IJC of the Great Lakes as one of three U.S. members of the 6 member committee.

Speck was optimistic that some of the issues facing the Great Lakes can be resolved.

"I think they’ll give us some steps to further improve the Great Lakes, so I’m excited about that. The one thing that is scary is the Asian Carp challenge, and that one is one that hopefully we will act quickly," added Speck.

Speck said about a fifth of the world’s fresh surface water supply comes from the Great Lakes.