Recommended Action for Future Use of Report
Combine the Four Work Group Reports
All four work group reports should be combined under a single cover. Each report should maintain its own identity. For example, this Natural Resource, Water Quality and Shorelines report should stand as a product of this work group, without modification. It should not be re-written, and non-participants in this process should not be allowed to add to this work groups report. DNR could draft the combined report, on an editorial basis, and be responsible for making a generalized summary introduction. The combined reports, in draft form, would be mailed to the attendees of the work groups for review, allowing a period of time for any necessary corrections or identification of omitted issues or solutions. It is felt that a summary by someone else might be a problem.
Create an Executive Summary
Sooner or later, someone will request a summary of the combined work group reports. There should be an "executive summary" prepared that summarizes the issues and suggested solutions in all four work group reports. All the issues and suggested solutions identified by each of the four work groups should be included. This executive summary should eliminate the duplication and overlap that currently exists across the four reports. A spreadsheet format for consolidating the issues and solutions into common ideas and themes could be used.
Public Notice of the Report and Local Distribution
There should be a public notice issued that announces the availability of the results of the four work groups. The report's information could be used as a reference for those who are interested in suggested solutions for natural resources, water quality and shorelines for future action. Copies of the non-summarized reports should be made available to all property owners within the coastal area, including areas not immediately adjacent to the lake, for the cost of printing and postage. The report should be printed on unbleached and recycled paper, using environmentally sensitive inks.
The results of these work group's efforts should be sent to: DNR; the Governor; government agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; regional entities like the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission; County Commissioners; Legislators from the coastal area; drainage boards; schools; libraries; newspapers; and other forms of media in general.
Continued Public Input
This should not be the end of obtaining public input during this programs development. Comments should continue to be solicited from the general public, and all stakeholders in the coastal area. Public comments on these four work group reports should be sought, but those comments should not become part of the report. Through its input, the general public should assist DNR, local governments and other agencies to accomplish the things that are needed to resolve the raised issues.
Future Public Meetings
One method of obtaining public input on the final work group report could include a series of public meetings. These meetings should be held in numerous communities at various locations along the coastal area, across the three counties that border Lake Michigan. Availability of public transportation should be a consideration when identifying meeting locations.
As DNR continues its evaluation of the issues and suggested solutions identified in each report, DNR should recognize the on-going efforts already in place throughout the Lake Michigan area. These existing efforts could fulfill some of the goals of the work groups. By identifying on-going efforts, coordination and cooperation could be improved and duplication of efforts might be avoided.