International Joint Commission (IJC)
More than a century of cooperation protecting shared waters

Annex 10 - Science

Purpose

The purpose of this Annex is to contribute to the achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of this Agreement by enhancing the coordination, integration, synthesis, and assessment of science activities. Science, including monitoring, surveillance, observation, research, and modeling, may be supplemented by other bodies of knowledge, such as traditional ecological knowledge.

Programs and Other Measures

The Parties, in cooperation and consultation with State and Provincial Governments, Tribal Governments, First Nations, Métis, Municipal Governments, watershed management agencies, other local public agencies, and the Public, shall:

  1. use adaptive management as a framework for organizing science to provide and monitor the effect of science-based management options;
     
  2. undertake monitoring and surveillance to anticipate the need for further science activities and to address emerging environmental concerns; and
     
  3. facilitate information management and sharing to improve knowledge, accessibility and exchange of relevant Great Lakes information.

Science Review, Priority-Setting and Coordination

The Parties, in cooperation and consultation with State and Provincial Governments, Tribal Governments, First Nations, Métis, Municipal Governments, watershed management agencies, other local public agencies, and the Public, shall:

  1. undertake a review of available scientific information to inform management actions and policy development. Priority issues to be addressed through this review of available scientific information shall be established on a three-year basis by the Parties in consultation with the Great Lakes Executive Committee, considering advice developed by the Commission in consultation with the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board;
     
  2. identify science priorities, taking into account recommendations of the Commission;
     
  3. use their best efforts to ensure that agencies that fund scientific activities orient their research programs in response to research priorities identified by the Parties; and
     
  4. coordinate scientific efforts in support of the restoration and protection of the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Waters of the Great Lakes to facilitate and evaluate achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of this Agreement.

Ecosystem Indicators

The Parties shall establish and maintain comprehensive, science-based ecosystem indicators to assess the state of the Great Lakes, to anticipate emerging threats and to measure progress in relation to achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of this Agreement. The indicators shall be periodically reviewed and updated as necessary.

Lake-Specific Science and Monitoring

In addition to ongoing science and monitoring activities that are routinely carried out by the Parties and other government and non-government entities, the Parties shall implement a cooperative science and monitoring initiative for each of the Great Lakes on a five-year rotational basis. The Parties shall focus monitoring activities on the science priorities identified through the Lakewide Management Process. The Parties will coordinate these activities across government and non-government organizations.

Reporting

The Parties shall report on progress toward implementation of this Annex every three years through the Progress Report of the Parties.

The Parties shall also issue, every three years, a State of the Great Lakes Reportto the Commission and the Public, describing basin-wide environmental trends and lake-specific conditions using ecosystem indicators established by the Parties.