Governor Appoints Institute Director to Great Lakes Council – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Governor Appoints Institute Director to Great Lakes Council

Marion E. Balyszak, director of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, has been appointed by Gov. George E. Pataki to the Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council.

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.

“I am grateful that Govenor Pataki has recognized Marion Balyzack’s leadership and the important work of the Finger Lakes Institute with this important appointment,” Hobart and William Smith President Mark Gearan said, “The citizens of New York will be well served with Marion’s experience and expertise in water quality issues.”

The council advises the Governor and the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 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 both.

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; 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. Balyszak has completed her oath of office for this gubernatorial appointment that will extend to July 2007.

Balyszak is excited about participation on the Advisory Council. She stated that “the future of the Finger Lakes, as well as the Great Lakes, will be vested in collaborative initiatives that can more effectively address concerns for these important freshwater resources and provide for a collective body of research that will contribute to knowledge about the importance of these lakes and efforts to ensure their long term protection”.

Balyszak was appointed interim director of the Finger Lakes Institute in February 2004 and named director in January 2005. She brings more than 20 years of non-profit administrative experience to the Institute, eight of those years in the area of water quality issues. She also serves as Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, a position she will complete in late August, and was a former program assistant with the Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance. She chairs Seneca Lake Area Partners in Five Counties, serves as a member of regional water quality coordinating committees, and collaborates regionally on the Finger Lakes. As director of the Finger Lakes Institute, she provides leadership for the Institute’s growth-oriented programs that include research, educational outreach, community outreach and economic development and regional planning.

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.