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The Great Lakes represent a precious natural resource that holds approximately twenty percent of all the fresh water on earth. Its sheer size creates an inherent regional connectedness among eight states and two Canadian provinces. While each of these actors rely heavily on the health of the Great Lakes for its individual economic well-being and quality of life, proper regional management of the Lakes has historically proven difficult. The passage of the Great Lakes Compact marks a significant step towards the successful management of the Great Lakes water resources. The Compact’s structure recognizes modern science and creates a unique balance of regional protection and state autonomy. Its ultimate effectiveness will depend on the states’ abilities to cooperate on a regional level. A 2008 state constitutional amendment passed in Ohio, however, demonstrates how local protectionist attitudes can erode the spirit of cooperation necessary to implement an effective regional water management regime.