The Great Lakes
Our Rochester area community's environmental health is greatly influenced by the Great Lakes--the largest source of fresh water in the world.
These changes in temperature and precipitation will strongly alter how the climate feels to us. Within three decades, for example, a summer in Illinois may feel like a summer in Oklahoma does today. By the end of the century, an Illinois summer may well feel like one in east Texas today, while a Michigan summer will probably feel like an Arkansas summer does today. Residents in Toronto could experience a shift from a southern Ontario summer to one that by 2030 may feel more like one in upstate New York, and by the end of the century more like one in northern Virginia today. From Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region | Impacts on Our Communities and Ecosystems from a Report of The Union of Concerned Scientists and The Ecological Society of America
Page Contents: Great Lakes NewsLinks| Great Lakes Discussions | Great Lakes & Climate Change | Take Action for Great Lakes | Great Lakes Education | Monitoring the Health of Great Lakes | Resources for the Great Lakes | Important Great Lakes Documents | Great Lakes Coalitions |
There are several major issues (including diversion, water levels, fish diseases, invasive species and clean water) that could greatly alter our way of living if they were upset—and there’s evidence that many are.
Join in discussions on the Great Lakes in my Blog: Environmental Thoughts.
- Can Great Lakes get Superfund status too now that we know it’s filled with plastics? LAKES FILLED WITH PLASTIC BITS- “The world’s largest freshwater ecosystem is added to the list of natural places filled with massive swirls of plastic pollution.” Just connecting the dots with this petition: Petition: Plastic in NW Hawaiian Islands Needs Superfund Cleanup SAN FRANCISCO, California, December 12, 2012 (ENS) – Appalled by the amount of plastic debris floating in the Pacific Ocean, the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity is petitioning the federal government to designate the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a Superfund site. The Center’s petition was filed Tuesday with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which operates the Superfund program to identify and clean up the country’s most hazardous sites. Threatened green turtles on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument with derelict fishing nets. (Photo by Andy Collins NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries) The petition is the first time that plastic-polluted waters of the United States have been nominated for a Superfund designation. The area proposed for designation includes that portion in U.S. waters of the Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling gyre of litter in the north Pacific Ocean larger than the state of Texas. (December 13, 2012)Environment News Service (http://s.tt/1wTFt) [more on Brownfields in our area]
- Where's that pollution? A report (37 pages) that should be on your reading list this week is the new report by the International Joint Commission because it's about "programs to abate, control and prevent pollution from municipal sources entering the Great Lakes System.” The report’s object: The objective was to survey existing programs aimed at controlling surface-water pollution and to provide an overview of the current situation." And, he current situation is not pretty. Not only is one of the largest fresh water systems in the world, which is in and is our backyard, being compromised, the municipal sewage overflow, which is integral to our environmental health (a point that doesn’t usually get high prominence in mainstream media because they don’t know how to quantify it) is also affecting the fishing and tourist industries—which do get a high profile in our mainstream media. Anyway, if you don’t have time to read this report, you should see that your congress person does. International Joint Commission - News room IJC Releases 14th Biennial Report WINDSOR, Ontario - The International Joint Commission today released its Fourteenth Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality. Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (Article VII), the International Joint Commission reports to the federal, state and provincial governments biennially concerning its findings on their progress toward achieving the Agreement’s general and specific objectives. The Commission’s report, which is released to the public, is also to assess the effectiveness of programs and other measures undertaken pursuant to the Agreement
- Green Isolationism Isolationists, most notably George Washington in his farewell address “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible,” believe that one’s territory can be contained, one’s sovereignty sustained by removing oneself from the rest. And while it was probably wise council for a young nation to stay out of ‘political connections’ as we built our new nation, isolationism of any kind really is not possible in today’s world. Isolation is only an illusion, especially in our environment. Connections are the rule. A sand storm in Africa gives Central American’s asthma. more...
- Bad Beaches Beach conditions are not simply a natural phenomenon that is something we are born to suffer and beyond our control. In most cases, it’s probably manmade pollution—from bad agricultural practices, storm water runoffs, industrial pollution, etc. Our beaches get worse and like the boiling frog metaphor we accustom ourselves to worsening beaches over the years until public bathing with be a thing of the past. That isn’t simply sad, that’s us shooting ourselves in the foot by allowing ourselves to do this to our environment. - Get the Beach Report: NRDC: Testing the Waters 2009 "A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches | more...
- How are Great Lakes Fish Doing? Important Canadian report about eating fish in the Great Lakes--things are not improving: Up to the Gills: 2009 Update on Pollution in Great Lakes Fish "This report examines fish consumption advisories in the Great Lakes between 2005 and 2009. Up to the Gills finds that levels of toxic chemicals in Great Lakes fish are alarmingly high, and are not improving. The major chemical contaminants that cause consumption advisories for Great Lakes fish include mercury, PCBs, pesticides, dioxins and furans. Health effects of these chemicals include damage more...
- Watching Fish A recent reading of local environmental news finds several interesting studies about the present state of our fish life. Things appear to be going well or not so well. For example, our Great Lakes fish populations are either doing swimmingly as noted in the New York Statewide Angler Survey 2007 - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (although, given the frequent fish eating advisories, maybe that’s not entirely true) or not so swimmingly: “No sign of threat: Don't expect gov't to issue warning of dangerous fishing,” June 26, 09 NY Daily News). Another report about our regional fish population indicates that fish are not doing so well: Up to the Gills: 2009 Update on Pollution in Great Lakes Fish which states “that levels of toxic chemicals in Great Lakes fish are alarmingly high, and are not improving.” And, as if eating fish were not enough of a worry, even playing on beach sand (Study: Digging in sand can increase health problems -- Newsday.com ) may be problematical. Not to mention, “The State of the Lakes: Still a Bummer” - Healthy Lakes - Healthy Lives “A new report by the US and Canadian Environmental Agencies finds that the Great Lakes ecosystem continues on a rapid decline due to toxic pollution and invasive species and poor sewage management.” Learn more at State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference | Great Lakes | US EPA more...
- Global Warming and Great Lakes Among other environmental markers in our area, the Great Lakes will be affected by Climate Change in our area. Learning about the effects, instead of trying to ignore them (for this is science, not a radical belief system) will help us understand how we might curb the effects and learn to live with the potential changes: more...
- Great lakes Pollution Health Link Study CDC As a follow up on the alleged “blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states” –from Great Lakes Danger Zones? The Center For Public Integrity Investigative Journalism in the Public Interest there’s a updated report out of Detroit: Great Lakes pollution, health link denied “No definitive link can be made between industrial pollution in the Great Lakes region and human health concerns, according to a revised version of a controversial federal study released Wednesday.” more...
- Great Lakes pollution, health link denied "Revised federal study contradicts draft report that found high rates of problems. Jim Lynch / The Detroit News No definitive link can be made between industrial pollution in the Great Lakes region and human health concerns, according to a revised version of a controversial federal study released Wednesday. The new version contradicts an early draft that was released in mid-March by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed areas around 13 former hazardous waste sites in Michigan had higher incidence rates for health problems, including infant mortality, low birth weight, premature birth, heart disease and several forms of cancer." FJR: So, Has this story gone away? Environmental Cover-up? This story highlights the importance of our environment, the role the Internet now plays in environmental media, and why we need critical information to assess the state of our environment. If it takes a whistle blower, another country, and a citizen public watch group for us to find out what damage our way of life is having on our support system, then we need to take charge of the information we need to have a sustainable society. We don’t need cover-ups, special interests, suppression of critical health information. We need to know, free and without cost, all that pertains to our getting enough information to make wise decisions about our environment. more...
Check these local efforts to curb the abuses of one of the largest fresh water systems in the world, in our backyard
- Join the Great Lakes Committee of the Rochester Regional Group Sierra Club | Sierra Club
- Citizen action to protect and restore the water quality of the Great Lakes basin: Freshwater Future "Freshwater Future builds effective community-based citizen action to protect and restore the water quality of the Great Lakes basin. We work toward this goal by providing financial assistance, communications and networking assistance and technical assistance to citizens and grassroots watershed groups throughout the Great Lakes basin. Through these efforts we work with over 1,800 grassroots watershed groups and citizens to protect and restore the rivers, lakes and wetlands in their communities. Freshwater Future, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. "
- Adopt-a-Beach™: Alliance for the Great Lakes "Adopt-a-Beach™ is the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ premier volunteer program, with some 11,000 participants ranging from individuals and families to schools and businesses. Our Adopt-a-Beach™ Program is more than just a beach sweep. Teams conduct litter removal and monitoring, and also complete a beach health assessment form that includes science-based observation and testing. Information collected by the teams is entered into our Adopt-a-Beach™ online system and is used to educate the public, share with local beach authorities and improve our beaches. "
Climate Change is going to profoundly affect all the Great Lakes ecosystems--plants, wildlife, fish, invasive species, water levels, storm intensity--you name it. We live in the Great Lakes ecology and that means profound changes are happening and more are coming. Read this studies and reports to comprehend the importance of addressing Climate Change.
- National Climate Assessment: Midwest Technical Input Report At the request of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, GLISA and the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment formed a Midwest regional team to provide technical input to the National Climate Assessment (NCA). In March 2012, the team submitted their report to the NCA Development and Advisory Committee. The following white papers comprised the chapters of the report, focusing on the potential impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation options to climate variability and change across many sectors. Great Lakes Integrated Science Assessments- GLISA [more on Great Lakes in our area]
- International Upper Great Lakes Study "FINAL REPORT TO THE INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION MARCH 2012 LAKE SUPERIOR REGULATION: ADDRESSING UNCERTAINTY IN UPPER GREAT LAKESWATER LEVELS SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS | Changing water levels can have significant effects on the lives of the more than 25 million people who live and work in the upper Great Lakes region. The front cover shows an integrated view of the key interests served by these waters. In the centre of the image is a photograph of the control structures at the outlet of Lake Superior on the St. Marys River, the only location in the entire Great Lakes basin upstream from Niagara Falls where water levels can be affected by regulation. Under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, domestic and sanitary water uses, navigation, and power and irrigation are given order of precedence. These uses must be taken into account in the development of regulation plans. Today, it is recognized that other interests have rights under the Treaty, consistent with the International Joint Commission’s balancing principle – providing benefits or relief to interests affected by water levels and flows without causing undue detriment to other interests. With this in mind, the International Upper Great Lakes Study added the interests of ecosystems, coastal zone uses and recreational boating and tourism to its analysis of Lake Superior regulation and uncertainty in future upper Great Lakes water levels. In addition, the Study recognized that First Nations in Canada, Native Americans and Métis represent an important perspective in the upper Great Lakes. For thousands of years, and continuing into the present, many Native American communities and First Nations have relied on the natural resources of the Great Lakes to meet their economic, cultural and spiritual needs. " from International Joint Commission
- Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region (2003) | Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region: Impacts on Our Communities and Ecosystems is a comprehensive report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Ecological Society of America, and written by leading university and government scientists in the Great Lakes region. This report examines the potential impacts of climate change upon the various ecosystems of this diverse and rich region. The report is designed to raise awareness of climate change and broaden understanding of its potential impacts and solutions. It is written in a readily accessible style for the general public, state and national policymakers, and business leaders. If you would like to be kept informed of our activities in the region, fill out our Great Lakes notification form and we will keep you posted. Union of Concerned Scientists
- Great Lakes National Parks in Peril The Threats of Climate Disruption At stake are the resources and values that make our national parks the special places that Americans love. Principal Authors Stephen Saunders Dan Findlay Tom Easley The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization Contributing Author Theo Spencer Natural Resources Defense Council July 2011
- On Thin Ice: Warming Winters Put America’s Hunting and Fishing Heritage at Risk tells the stories of how 2011-2012’s warm winter impacted hunters and anglers across America and details the steps we need to take now to protect those traditions for future generations. - National Wildlife Federation
Learn about important issues that pertain to our Great Lakes.
- Major report on the health of our Great Lakes. Climate Change and Great Lakes Water Resources November 2007 - This report provides a comprehensive look at how climate change will impact water resources in the Great Lakes region and in other regions of the United States. By exploring the impact climate change will have in reducing water supplies across the country, this report highlights the need for water conservation laws and policies in the face of growing demand for clean, fresh water." --National Wildlife Federation is solely responsible for the content of this report.
- A new threat to our lakes is underway by Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in New York - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation "Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) virus is a serious pathogen of fresh and saltwater fish that is causing an emerging disease in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada. VHS virus is a rhabdovirus (rod shaped virus) that affects fish of all size and age ranges. It does not pose any threat to human health. VHS can cause hemorrhaging of fish tissue, including internal organs, and can cause the death of infected fish. " Also, check out all news links on this issue in the past: VHS News Links from RochesterEnvironment.com
- Important Canadian report about eating fish in the Great Lakes--things are not improving: Up to the Gills: 2009 Update on Pollution in Great Lakes Fish "This report examines fish consumption advisories in the Great Lakes between 2005 and 2009. Up to the Gills finds that levels of toxic chemicals in Great Lakes fish are alarmingly high, and are not improving. The major chemical contaminants that cause consumption advisories for Great Lakes fish include mercury, PCBs, pesticides, dioxins and furans. Health effects of these chemicals include damage to the nervous, respiratory and immune system, as well as cancer."
- Learn all about our Great Lakes from those who have experienced it—you. -- Great Lakes Wiki - The Great Lakes Wiki explores new ways of speeding the flow of information, knowledge and news about one of the world's greatest natural resources. It relies on the experience and knowledge of a network of citizens, including scientists, hunters, policymakers, environmentalists, anglers, lakeside property owners, boaters, business operators and others who care about the Great Lakes region.
- Great Lakes Educators of Aquatic and Marine Science (GLEAMS) GLEAMS is a network of people - from the Great Lakes Region - representing a variety of disciplines and working together for the advancement of aquatic education. GLEAMS aims to provide educators with information, methods and materials for including water related content and activities into their curricula. GLEAMS also provides its members with opportunities to network and connect with marine and aquatic science educators throughout the Great Lakes region and beyond.
- TEACH Great Lakes Are you interested in learning more about the Great Lakes? Start your exploration with an Introduction to the Great Lakes. Do you have a specific question about the Great Lakes that you've been wondering about? Visit the Great Lakes Vault of Knowledge to submit questions and get answers.
- Great Lakes Forever Great Lakes Forever is a public education initiative of Biodiversity Project and its partners. Great Lakes Forever is designed to raise awareness of the ecological value of the Great Lakes and concern about the threats to the ecosystem’s health. It is also designed to encourage citizen involvement in Great Lakes protection. The campaign has two goals: A broader, more engaged constituency that sees reasons to care more about the Great Lakes and is therefore more receptive to messages encouraging positive actions.Institutional commitment and a sustainable capacity to build a more engaged Great Lakes constituency. Great Lakes Forever frames discussion of the Lakes around four key issues: water quality, water quantity, habitat protection, and invasive species control. Working with a coalition of Wisconsin partners and region-wide advisors, we are working to raise the profile of important, but poorly understood Great Lakes issues, such as: polluted run-off, groundwater depletion, and habitat loss. The program combines five communications components in an effort to reach the public on these issues: media outreach (press kits,) educational advertising (print and radio,) point-of-experience signs (at coastal park facilities,) community events, and Web-based outreach.
- Impacts of Climate Change in the United States - Great Lakes THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING ON THE GREAT LAKES REGION Critical Findings for the Great Lakes Region from the First National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change
- International Association for Great Lakes Research - IAGLR The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) is a scientific organization made up of researchers studying the Laurentian Great Lakes, other large lakes of the world, and their watersheds, as well as those with an interest in such research. IAGLR members encompass all scientific disciplines with a common interest in the management of large lake ecosystems on many levels.
- Lake Ontario Waterkeeper As one of the most exciting young environmental groups in the country, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has drawn local, regional, and national attention for our clean water initiatives. Launched in February 2001, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper trains other individuals and volunteer groups to be local water guardians and to report pollution concerns.
- Climate Change: Great Lakes Climate | Great Lakes Climate Change Science and Education Systemic Network (GLCCSESN) | Great Lakes Climate "This project will begin on 15 September 2010. Climate Change Education Partnership - Great Lakes Climate Change Science and Education Systemic Network. "
Sites that actually get you up to the minute information on the state of our Great Lakes
- Down The Drain Report "Water Conservation in the Great Lakes Basin - 2010 - Water is essential to life on earth, so much so that we often take it for granted. Throughout the day, from the time you shower in the morning until you brush your teeth before you go to bed, you are using water. Most Canadians use water like we breathe air; not thinking about it, just doing it. Many Canadians have developed this type of thinking because we benefit from one of the earth’s greatest gift, the Great Lakes. The vast majority of the residents of the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec and significant populations in the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin depend on the water of the Great Lakes for drinking, irrigating crops, generating power, transporting goods and recreation. Ontarians are the largest water users of the Great Lakes " --from Environmental Defence
- Keeping tabs on Ontario Lake's Health: Great Lakes Observing System The Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) is being developed to provide critical real-time and historical data for multiple users, including, among others, resource managers, researchers, homeland security interests, the commercial shipping industry and the recreational boating community.
- Great Lakes Monitoring: The Lake Guardian The Lake Guardian is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) largest Great Lakes' research and monitoring vessel. It is the only self-contained, non-polluting research vessel on the Great Lakes. The Lake Guardian, operated by the EPA’s Chicago-based Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO, conducts monitoring programs that sample the water, aquatic life, sediments, and air in order to assess the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem by using state-of-the-art data collection techniques and instruments during the biannual spring and summer surveys. It is also used to support research activities conducted by Federal, State, and, local agencies, and universities.
- Great Lakes Air Deposition Program The Great Lakes Air Deposition (GLAD) program is coordinated by the Great Lakes Commission to address the deposition of toxic pollutants to the waters of the Great Lakes region and to promote coordinate efforts to reduce such deposition and the resulting adverse impacts on human and wildlife health. The program supports scientific research, information gathering and collaboration among policy makers.
- Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AoCs): Rochester Embayment | Great Lakes | US EPA The Rochester Embayment is an area of formed by the indentation of the Monroe County (New York) shoreline between Bogus Point in the town of Parma and Nine Mile Point in the town of Webster, both in Monroe County. The northern boundary of the embayment is delineated by the straight line between these two points. The southern boundary includes approximately 9.6 km (6 miles) of the Genesee River that is influenced by lake levels, from the river's mouth to the Lower Falls. The drainage area of the embayment is more than 3,000 square miles (7,770 km2) in area. This area consists of the entire Genesee River Basin and parts of two other drainage basins; the easternmost area of the Lake Ontario West Basin and the westernmost area of the Lake Ontario Central Basin. --from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) Homepage Ecosystem forecasting predicts the effects of biological, chemical, physical, and human-induced changes on ecosystems and their components. These forecasts, both qualitative and quantitative, offer scientifically sound state-of-the-art estimations of likely outcomes.
- Welcome to the USGS Great Lakes Science Center The Great Lakes Science Center exists to meet the Nation's need for scientific information for restoring, enhancing, managing, and protecting living resources and their habitats in the Great Lakes basin ecosystem. The Center is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has biological stations and research vessels located throughout the Great Lakes Basin. The precursor to the current Center's programs began in 1927 when investigations of the collapse of the Lake Erie cisco population were initiated by the Center's first director, Dr. John Van Oosten. Our research spans a range of studies including fish populations and communities, aquatic habitats, terrestrial ecology, nearshore and coastal communities and the biological processes that occur in this complex ecosystem of the Great Lakes.
Though, Rochester, NY specifically is located on Lake Ontario, our city is influence by all that happens to any of the Great Lakes because we are next to the last of the Great Lakes before their waters flow into the St, Lawrence River. The sites below focus in on various areas of the largest freshwater system in the world, which holds a fifth of the world's fresh water.
- EPA; Great Lakes "The Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario - form the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth. More than 30 million people live in the Great Lakes basin, and the daily activities of these people, from the water consumed to the waste returned, directly affects the Great Lakes environments. The United States and Canada both have jurisdiction over the Great Lakes Basin. Within the US, the EPA and nine other agencies together administer more than 140 different federal programs helping fund and implement environmental restoration and management activities in the Great Lakes basin. In addition, governance of the Great Lakes system is shared with eight U.S. states, nearly 40 Tribal Nations, more than half a dozen major metropolitan areas, and numerous county and local governments. This site provides information about efforts to keep the lakes clean for the people, animals, and plants that depend on them." Find out about these topics: Areas of Concern (AOCs) - Clean Water Act - Contaminated Sediments Program - Ecosystems - Environmental Indicators - Funding Program - Great Lakes Atlas - Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy (GLTBS) - Great Lakes Ecosystem Report - Human Health Program - Interagency Task Force - Invasive Species - Lakewide Management Plans - Monitoring Program - State-of-the-Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) - Visualizing the Great Lakes Photo Collection - Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) Also, The Great Lakes Atlas The Great Lakes An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book
- International Joint Commission Canada and the United States created the International Joint Commission because they recognized that each country is affected by the other's actions in lake and river systems along the border. The two countries cooperate to manage these waters wisely and to protect them for the benefit of today's citizens and future generations.
- LOCI: Lake Ontario Coastal Initiative "The Lake Ontario Coastal Initiative, is a public/private, grassroots, regional partnership. The U.S. portion of Lake Ontario’s shoreline and watershed lies wholly in New York State. Despite significant water quality improvements in the open, offshore waters of the Lake over the last three decades, the 300 miles of shoreline, river and creek mouths, and embayments suffer from many impairments that limit their recreational use, elevate the cost of drinking water withdrawals that serve over a million customers, including the Rochester and Syracuse metropolitan areas, and affect the region’s recreation and tourism based economy and property values, reliant on high quality water resources."
- Great Lakes Regional Assessment (GLRA) What can individuals, communities, and industries do to take advantage of opportunities resulting from climate change and variability? Explore our site and find out what our report can tell you about our changing climate.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District, Missions Great Lakes Habitat Initiative (GLHI)
- Council of Great Lakes Governors The Council has one simple mission: To encourage and facilitate environmentally responsible economic growth through a cooperative effort between the public and private sectors among the eight Great Lakes States and with Ontario and Québec. Through the Council, Governors work collectively to ensure that the entire Great Lakes region is both economically sound and environmentally conscious in addressing today's problems and tomorrow's challenges.
- Great Lakes Commission | Commission des Grands Lacs The Great Lakes Commission is a public agency established by the Great Lakes Basin Compact in 1955 to help its Member states and provinces speak with a unified voice and collectively fulfill their vision for a healthy, vibrant Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River region. Commission products and services focus on communication and education, information integration and reporting, facilitation and consensus building, and policy coordination and advocacy.
- Great Lakes United: Great Lakes United is an international coalition dedicated to preserving and restoring the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem. Great Lakes United is made up of member organizations representing environmentalists, conservationists, hunters and anglers, labor unions, community groups, and citizens of the United States, Canada, and First Nations and Tribes.
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative "The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. A task force of 11 federal agencies developed an action plan to implement the initiative. This action plan covers fiscal years 2010 through 2014 and addresses five urgent issues: Cleaning up toxics and areas of concern; Combating invasive species; Promoting nearshore health by protecting watersheds from polluted run-off; Restoring wetlands and other habitats; and Tracking progress and working with strategic partners. With input from citizens, three key priorities will guide restoration for 2012 and 2013: Cleaning up Areas of Concern, Reducing nutrients entering the Lakes, and Preventing the introduction of new invasive species."
- IUGLS - International Upper Great Lakes Study "Governed by the International Joint Commission, this multi-disciplinary Study depends on several groups who provide essential support. Their broad involvement and impact are critical to the Study's success. "
- Great Lakes Echo - Environmental news across the basin "We foster and serve a news community defined by proximity to and interest in the environment of the Great Lakes watershed. We use traditional news reporting methods but also push the frontiers of journalism to harness the knowledge, interests, skills and energy of that community. "
- NY Sea Grant | "Bringing Science to the Shore" since 1971. "Established in 1966, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program promotes the wise stewardship of coastal resources in 32 joint Federal/State university programs in every U.S. coastal and Great Lakes state and Puerto Rico (click here for U.S. map with locations). The Sea Grant model has also inspired similar projects in the Pacific region, Korea and Indonesia. New York Sea Grant (NYSG), one of the largest of these programs, is a cooperative program of the State University of New York (SUNY) and Cornell University, with administrative offices at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, extension administration at Cornell University in Ithaca, and extension staff throughout the state. "
- Great Lakes Integrated Science Assessments GLISA "Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA) links science, people, and information, bridging the gap between producers and users of scientific information. GLISA facilitates smart responses to climate variability and change. "
Because the Great Lakes spans several states and two countries there are several agreements that help policy makers decide how to proceed on environmental issues.
- Keeping Great Lakes Water Safe: Priorities for Protecting against Emerging Chemical Pollutants "More than 85,000 chemicals are in production and use in the United States today and the number is growing. Of those, more than 2,200 are produced at a rate of 1 million-plus pounds a year, and nearly 20,000 registered pesticide products have entered the market since registration began in 1947. Still more are on the way. Advances in chemistry and biotechnology mean new compounds are being synthesized at an unprecedented rate. These chemicals don’t simply disappear after fulfilling their intended uses, but find their way into the environment and the water. As the number of chemicals around us continues to grow, the potential for these chemicals to end up in the Great Lakes — with retention times of up to nearly 200 years — also grows. "November 27, 2012 , Alliance for the Great Lakes
- Binational Toxics Strategy | Great Lakes | US EPA
- Our Great Lakes - Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), first signed in 1972 and renewed in 1978, expresses the commitment of Canada and the United States to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem and includes a number of objectives and guidelines to achieve these goals. It reaffirms the rights and obligation of Canada and the United States under the Boundary Waters Treaty
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan (February 2010) "The lands and waters of the Great Lakes are like no other place. In a world where fresh surface water is increasingly in demand, the region contains some 20 percent of it. At a time when people are not looking as much to faraway places for respite, the Great Lakes offer some of the most majestic natural shorescapes on the planet to accommodate them. As a result, people are reconnecting to their beaches, wide-open waters, petroglyphed bluffs, dune ranges and tumbling tributaries like never before. Likewise, these same resources have served as the raw material to build some of the Earth’s most legendary cities, create jobs to support families, and contribute to the largest economy in the history of the world. Still, our expectation that the Great Lakes will continue to meet these needs has resulted in lost flora, fauna, soil, and air and water quality to the point where the ecosystem is showing signs of severe stress and its ability to keep up with these demands is in doubt. While in the past we have worked to minimize harm, public demand for a new standard of care is surging. That standard of care is that we must leave the Great Lakes better for the next generation than the condition in which we inherited them. We must continue to go beyond minimizing harm to proactively rehabilitating the Great Lakes. Only then will they be able to keep providing jobs, recreation and sanctuary. "
- Great Lakes--St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact Implementation "On December 13, 2005, the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers signed agreements at the Council of Great Lakes Governors’ (CGLG) Leadership Summit that will provide unprecedented protections for the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin. "
Organizations whose goals are to protect specific areas of the Great Lakes
- FL-LOWPA Finger Lakes - Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance is a coalition of all 25 counties in New York State's Lake Ontario drainage basin. FL-LOWPA fosters coordinated watershed management programs across the Lake Ontario Basin based on local needs.
- OSOS Save our Sodus Save Our Sodus, Inc. is an organization concerned with deteriorating water quality in Sodus Bay. Our members include local residents, vacationers, property owners, businesses, farmers, boaters, sportspeople and many others who recognize the importance of preserving the bay's natural beauty and purity. Water quality and pollution are quickly becoming an international concern and threaten to emerge this century as a global crisis to the world's populations. We understand that the best way to effectively protect and preserve these waters is locally, through citizen support and community action. By joining together, we can increase public awareness, create a common voice and reverse the pollution damage that is done daily to Sodus Bay and its tributaries.
- Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative "The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) is a binational coalition of mayors and other local officials that works actively with federal, state, and provincial governments to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes. GLSLCI is an independent 501(c)(3) headquartered in Chicago. David Ullrich is the Executive Director and point of contact for the Initiative. Before heading the Initiative, Mr. Ullrich was deputy regional administrator for the Great Lakes region of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1992 until 2003. During his 30 years with EPA, he had been acting regional administrator, director of the Waste Management Division, acting regional counsel, and chief of Air Enforcement."
- WesternLakeErie.org - Welcome to the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association's Website! The Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association, a Waterkeeper Alliance Member and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, serves the waters and fish of Lake Erie, beginning in the east at Sandusky Bay and extending west to the Ohio line of the Maumee River. This includes counties in Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario; the rivers Raisin, Maumee, Sandusky, Touissaint, Portage, Ottawa, and Huron; and all creeks, ditches, drain pipes and runoff to the waters of Western Lake Erie, with the exception of the Detroit River.
- Alliance for the Great Lakes "The Alliance for the Great Lakes is the oldest independent citizen's organization devoted 100 percent to the Great Lakes. Our professional staff works with scientists, policymakers, businesses, community groups and everyday citizens to protect and restore the world's largest surface freshwater resource. From forging forward-looking Great Lakes policies to promoting Great Lakes education to on-the-ground efforts to improve thousands of miles of Great Lakes shoreline, we've been out front and behind the scenes caring for the lakes since 1970. In 2008, we received the American Bar Association's Distinguished Achievement Award in Environmental Law and Policy, the first not-for-profit citizen's group to receive the honor. "