Tomorrow is my last day on the staff of the International Joint Commission.  It was a profound honor to be a public servant again — and to work for a national treasure.  Her name is Lana Pollack.

First, the IJC.  It’s an underrated institution.  In the Great Lakes, it is an independent voice providing an honest assessment of the good and the bad in governments’ work to protect and restore this globally significant ecosystem.

Some of the most principled and talented people I’ve ever known staff the offices in Ottawa, Windsor and Washington, D.C.  The mere fact of working with Canadian colleagues opens up new vistas, reminding one that this resource is shared with a nation which, for all our differences, cares just as much as we do.

All of the commissioners, Canadian and U.S., under whom I’ve served have brought fresh perspectives and commitment to the often grueling work and travel schedule.  But I and all of the people of Michigan and the Great Lakes owe one, the U.S. co-chair, a particular debt of gratitude.

I have known Lana for 35 years — as a state senator, a publisher, president of the Michigan Environmental Council and IJC co-chair.  I have known no one in public life with the  unfaltering commitment to principle Lana has.  I have known few with as much policy sense and similarly sound values.  She has a work ethic that puts people half her age to shame.

There is no time here to count up all of her accomplishments, but a crowning achievement came recently.  Working with her fellow commissioners, she put in place a new plan for managing the water levels of Lake Ontario that will restore 64,000 acres of wetlands — one of the biggest such initiatives in North America.

I was lucky to work for Lana.  We all have been lucky to benefit from her service.