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Last update: 4/22/08

[University of Wisconsin-Green Bay News Release]

For Immediate Release:

April 21, 2008

Great Lakes expert to speak on health of Great Lakes region

GREEN BAY-John Austin, an economic and environmental researcher who is an expert on the Great Lakes Region, will be on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus and in the community May 1-2 to explain why it's vital to protect and enhance the United States' "North Coast."

Austin will make a free, public presentation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1, in the auditorium of the Brown County Central Library, 515 Pine St., Green Bay. He is expected to meet on campus with UW-Green Bay faculty and students prior to that.

On Friday, May 2, Austin will meet on the UW-Green Bay campus with invited area business leaders, UW-Green Bay faculty, local legislators and government officials and other Great Lakes experts for a breakfast discussion.

Austin is a nonresident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, as well as vice president of the Michigan State Board of Education and senior fellow with the University of Michigan's School of Education-National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good.

The Brookings Institution is a non-profit public policy organization that aims to conduct research and make recommendations that strengthen American democracy, foster economic and social welfare, security and opportunity for all Americans and secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.

Austin has over 20 years experience in public policy leadership and is currently leading the Brookings Institution's Great Lakes Economic Initiative, which is designed to improve the economic vitality of the Great Lakes states.

Austin is lead author of the Brookings Institute report "Healthy Waters, Strong Economy: The Benefits of Restoring the Great Lakes Ecosystem." The study determined that a major cleanup of the areas surrounding the Great Lakes-which make up 90 percent of the country's and nearly 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water-could bring in an additional $50 billion for the U.S. economy.

The health of the Great Lakes region has become more important than ever, as falling water levels and invasive species have had noticeable effects on the shipping, manufacturing, mining and fishing industries in particular.

Politicians in Washington have started to take notice, too. Last week, the subcommittee on water resources and environment, of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, held a public hearing on the UW-Green Bay campus about the biggest threats to the Great Lakes.

Austin's visit to Green Bay is sponsored by UW-Green Bay, the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and the UW Sea Grant Institute.

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08-112 | Contact: Mike Heine, (920) 465-2526

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