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Welcome to the School of Commoning!

The School of Commoning is a growing worldwide community of people participating in the global and local commons. We support the developing commons movement, as well as interested organizations and individuals, with well-organized knowledge resources and educational programs on commoning and the commons.

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  • On the homepage, click on "If you are new to the site", which will take you to a page of useful information about the site, which we compiled especially for new members. 
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Diversions of Great Lakes Water

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:29

Diversions may transfer water in or out of the Great Lakes basin, or between the watersheds of different lakes or rivers within the basin. While the impacts of existing diversions on lake levels are minor, they alter the natural flow of the Great Lakes and water returned from diversions may be of a different quality than when it was withdrawn.

Not So Fast, Natural Gas - Why Accelerating Risky Drilling Threatens America’s Water

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:28

After witnessing BP’s devastating Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some industry analysts are suggesting that domestic natural gas is a good onshore alternative. Even before the spill, some said natural gas could be a “game changer” if new technology allowed drillers to tap into shale rock formations on a large scale. But because the same technology poses threats to water, accelerating this natural gas drilling could be our next energy disaster.


Great Lakes Watershed Map

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:25

Cleaning Up Toxic Substances and Restoring the Degraded Areas of Concern

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:24

Continuing sources of toxic substances include releases from contaminated sediments; industrial and municipal point sources; nonpoint sources including atmospheric deposition, agricultural and urban runoff, and contaminated groundwater; and cycling of these substances within the ecosystem. The most contaminated rivers, lakes and bays in the Great Lakes – the “Areas of Concern” designated under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement – are undergoing costly cleanups to remove toxic sediments and other pollution.

Establishing Strong Protections Against Aquatic Invasive Species

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:22

The introduction and spread of non-native aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes poses serious risks to the region’s ecological and economic health. More than 180 non-native aquatic species have become established in the Great Lakes, causing economic losses estimated at $5.7 billion annually. Ecological conditions will only get worse if Asian carp become established in the Great Lakes watershed.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Strategically Targeting Critical Great Lakes Problems

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:20

A variety of factors continue to impair the health of the Great Lakes and undermine the economic benefits they provide to the region. Fortunately, we have a plan in place to address these challenges. A coalition of more than 1,500 federal, state and local officials and interested stakeholders developed this restoration blueprint that established key goals and required actions for restoring and protecting the Great Lakes.

Improving Nearshore Health and Reducing Nonpoint Source Pollution

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:18

Degraded water quality is a persistent problem in the nearshore zone – bacterial contamination closes beaches and threatens public health; sedimentation clogs harbors and damages fishery resources; and disease outbreaks threaten valuable wildlife. Nonpoint source pollution is the diffuse, intermittent runoff of pollutants from various sources, and it contributes significantly to the degradation of Great Lakes water quality, particularly in nearshore areas.

Improving Infrastructure for Commercial Navigation and Recreational Boating

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:17

The Great Lakes constitute one of our nation’s major marine transportation systems and are a vital part of both our region’s and our nation’s economic infrastructure. Unfortunately, a combination of factors is reducing their economic viability, including reduced funding for dredging, lower water levels in the lakes, diminishing options for disposing of dredged material and an aging navigation infrastructure.

Protecting Water Quality through the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Revolving Funds

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:15

Experts indicate that 25 percent of our water infrastructure is already beyond its useful life, leading to more frequent structural failures. Water and wastewater infrastructure is vital to our environment, public health and safety, and economy, yet these buried assets – and their deteriorating condition – are largely “out of sight, out of mind.”

Restoring and Protecting Valuable Fish and Wildlife Resources

on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:12

The loss and degradation of habitat in the Great Lakes region is an urgent concern. Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems have been significantly altered due to human settlement, farming, development and other activities. The Great Lakes region has lost more than half of its original wetlands and 60 percent of its forest, and retains only small remnants of other habitat types such as savannah or prairies.