New York's Great Lakes: Ecosystem Education Exchange
Great Lakes Action Agenda

New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda (GLAA)

Sections on this page: GLAA Sub Basin Work Groups

The interim Great Lakes Action Agenda is a guide to promote successful ecosystem-based management through existing programs and partnerships involving state and federal agencies, municipalities, academic institutions, non-profits, and other stakeholders in New York's Great Lakes basin. Additional information about the status of the agenda, collaboration process, and program updates are available on the Web site.

In an effort to promote a more integrated response to complex ecosystem problems, the New York State Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act of 2006 directed state agencies to employ ecosystem-based management (EBM) principles in state agency programs. Ecosystem-based management is an emerging, integrated approach to natural resources management that considers the entire ecosystem, including humans, to achieve improved environmental conditions and sustained ecosystem services that support human needs and social goals. As directed by this law, an inter-agency report, “Our Waters, Our Communities, Our Future” was developed to recommend ways in which New York can further strengthen an EBM approach through existing state programs and new partnerships.

Principles of Ecosystem-based Management

  • Place-based focus
  • Protection of ecosystem structure, function and key processes
  • Interconnectedness within and among systems
  • Integration of ecological, social, economic and institutional perspectives
  • Sustainable human use of the ecosystem
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Collaboration
  • Scientific foundation for decision-making
  • Adaptive management

One recommendation was for New York State to establish place-based action programs for our Great Lakes. This agenda achieves this vision by providing a mechanism to apply the nine principles of ecosystem-based management to future sustainable development and resource management decisions. Four sub-basin work groups for each of New York’s major Great Lakes sub-basins have been formed to work collaboratively to implement the Great Lakes Action Agenda.

GLAA Sub Basin Work Groups back to top

Sub basin work groups will identify and advance priority projects in each of NY’s major Great Lakes sub basins (shown below) to achieve the goals of New York’s Great Lakes Action Agenda using a place-based, ecosystem-based management approach.  Work group members include environmental organizations, academic institutions, state and federal agencies, local government, interested public and other diverse stakeholders.  

New York’s Great Lakes Sub-Basins: Each of these sub-basins or watersheds consists of multiple sub-watersheds, defined by the relationship between their topography and hydrology. The sub-watershed scale is most practical for local planning and management.

Frequently Asked Questions:

WHO?  Environmental orgs, academic institutions, state and federal agencies, local government, interested public and other diverse stakeholders (business, health, recreation, etc)

WHAT?  Work groups will identify and advance priority projects to achieve the goals of NYS’s Great Lakes Action Agenda   (Review Agenda at  

HOW?  Sub basin work plans and project teams will be developed to focus, organize and advance multi-stakeholder projects in support of the GLAA.     

WHY?  Because making lasting progress within our Great Lakes basin depends on focused collaboration and collective impact among dedicated and motivated stakeholders like you!     

Great Lakes Action Team

The Great Lakes Action Team is composed of state agency and other supporting partners representing broad interests across New York’s Great Lakes basin.  This body serves as the steering committee for this basin-wide effort and will provide strategic direction on overall planning, coordination, and EBM implementation.  

Get Involved and Learn More!

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Connect with a Great Lakes Watershed Coordinator to learn more about NY’s Great Lakes Action Agenda and get involved with collaborative efforts!

  • Eastern Lake Ontario, including Eastern Finger Lakes and St. Lawrence, Black, and Oswego River watersheds, contact Eastern Great Lakes Watershed Coordinator:

  • Western Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, including Western Finger Lakes and Niagara and Genesee River watersheds, contact Western Great Lakes Watershed Coordinator:


New York State Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act of 2006
Article 14 of the NY Environmental Law calls for an ecosystem based management approach in New York’s Ocean and Great Lakes basins. 

New York’s Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council
Report guiding how state agencies will advance an ecosystem based management approach in NY’s Ocean and Great Lakes. 

New York Sea Grant Home *  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Home

This website was developed with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund, in support of the Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act of 2006. 

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