Marion E. Balyszak, director of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, has been re-appointed to the Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council by Gov. David A. Paterson for a one year term to July 2010.
The Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council is a statutory body that was created in 1988 to assist New York State in its effort to protect the environment, social and economic health of the Great Lakes region. The council advises the Governor, New York State Legislature, and the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) regarding New York’s role in regional, federal, and international water quality issues. Diverse statewide interests are represented in council deliberations by its 12 public and six agency members. The Council functions as a link between the government and the public. Members are appointed by the Governor and the Legislature and report annually to the Governor and the Legislature. Balyszak has been a member of the Council since 2005.
The Council was formed to review and make recommendations on any comprehensive Great Lakes Management Plan developed by the NYS DEC; develop legislative recommendations; assess land acquisition needs for purposed of wildlife habitat, coastal management, public access, parks and historic preservation; review and advise on proposals that come before the Council of the Great Lakes Governors (CGLG); assist in funding priorities for NYS Great Lakes research and program needs; and advise the commissioner of NYS DEC concerning selection of projects to be funded by the NYS Great Lakes Protection Fund. Recent activities by the Council over the past 18 months have focused on a directive from the State Legislature to develop recommendations for legislation, regulations, or rules necessary to implement and effectuate requirements and purposes of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, signed into New York State Environmental Conservation Law by Gov. Eliot Spitzer as 21 ECL Title 10 on March 4, 2008 and instituted in December.
“I am honored by the re-appointment and excited to continue my service with members of the Council as we support efforts to protect New York’s Great Lakes Basin, which includes the Finger Lakes region,” said Balyszak.
Balyszak brings more than 30 years of non-profit administrative experience to the Institute, 12 of those years in the area of water quality. As Director of the Finger Lakes Institute, she provides leadership for the Institute’s programs in research, educational outreach, community outreach and economic development and regional planning, which focuses on the 11 Finger Lakes of central and western New York State. She additionally collaborates on many regional Finger Lakes and Great Lakes water quality initiatives and committees as well as serving as chair of the Board of Governors for the Great Lakes Research Consortium.
The Finger Lakes Institute is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments. In collaboration with regional environmental partners and state and local government offices, the Institute fosters environmentally-sound development practices throughout the region and disseminates the accumulated knowledge to the general public. Through its programs, the Institute seeks to advance, coordinate and disseminate scientific understanding about the Finger Lakes environment, provide interdisciplinary training for the next generation of environmental researchers, educators, and policy makers, serves as a clearinghouse for environmental information about the region, enhance the understanding of environmental issues by regional policy makers and the general public, construct models that integrate the economic and environmental impacts of specific economic development strategies, and create and disseminate educational resources and opportunities at all levels. The 11 Finger Lakes form the headwaters to Lake Ontario and are part of the Great Lakes Basin.