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                     COUNCIL OF LARGE
                     EC
           FAQs: Council of Large Aquatic Ecosystems
          U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA)


Q:    What is the Council of Large Aquatic Ecosystems (LAE)?

A:    The Council promotes and supports the work of ten geographically-based,
large aquatic ecosystem programs across the U.S.:

 The Chesapeake Bay Program;
 The Great Lakes;
 The Gulf of Mexico Program;
 The Long Island Sound Study;
 The South Florida Geographic Initiative;
 The Lake Champlain Basin Program;
 The Puget Sound - Georgia Basin;
 The Columbia River Basin;
 The San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary; and
 The Pacific Islands Program Office.

The Council includes representatives of each of these ecosystem programs and
also includes:

 The EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, who shall chair the Council]
 The Directors of the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, the Office of
Science and Technology, and the Office of Wastewater Management;
 A senior representative of the EPA Office of Research and Development; and
 Two EPA Region Water Division Directors serving two year terms.

Q:     What are the objectives of the Council of Large Aquatic Ecosystems?

A:     The Charter for the Council of Large Aquatic Ecosystems, signed by then
Assistant  Administrator Benjamin Grumbles in May 2008, states five key
objectives for the Council:

- Strengthen Aquatic Ecosystem Programs
- Strengthen Core Water Program Implementation
- Improve Aquatic Ecosystem Program Links to EPA Strategic Plan and Budget
- Improve Aquatic Ecosystem Program Links to EPA Research Plans
- Develop and Define New Aquatic Ecosystem Programs

The Charter includes additional information concerning specific activities under
each of these goals. The Charter can be found at:
http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/pdf/large_aquatic_ecosystems_charter.pdf.

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Q:    Why was the Council of Large Aquatic Ecosystems created?

A:    Despite tremendous progress in protecting and restoring the Nation's
water quality, severe threats and challenges remain.  Ecosystem-based
programs complement nationally applicable programs, like the discharge permit
program or infrastructure financing program, by delivering plans and programs
tailored to a specific, critical aquatic ecosystem.  The Council of Large Aquatic
Ecosystems seeks to strengthen these ecosystem programs by facilitating
communication among the LAE members and their national water program
counterparts.

Q:    How do the LAEs become part of the Council?

A:    The Council is made up of large aquatic ecosystems  identified in Goal 4 of
the EPA Strategic Plan.  These are major aquatic ecosystems for which EPA and
others are making substantial  investments and for which EPA is committed to
reporting progress toward restoration goals. In developing the final Charter for
the Council, several large aquatic ecosystem programs not now addressed in
Goal 4 were included at the request of EPA Regional Offices.

Q:    What happens once an LAE joins the Council?

A:    The members of the Council will work together to collectively formulate
strategies to help implement their plans of action. Council members identify
common needs, promote "best practices," and work with HQ program offices and
the Office of Research and Development to improve linkages between programs.
Council members hold periodic conference calls and meet occasionally to
implement these actions.

Q:    What about large aquatic ecosystems that are not now members of the
Council?

A:    The primary function of the LAE Council is to integrate the ten geographic
based programs that are part of the Cot/nc/Vwith EPA's national water programs.
From time to time EPA may decide to add new LAEs to the Council.

Q:    How are the operations of the Council supported?

A:    The Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds provides administrative
and management support for the Council and serves as a HQ point of contact for
LAEs on budget, assessment, and Strategic Plan related activities.

Q:    Where can I find more information about the LAE Council?

A:    EPA LAE Council Website:
http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/partnerships/large_aquatic.html
      LAE Council intranet Wiki:
https://kestrel.rtpnc.epa.gov/laecouncil/index.php/Main_Page

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