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

Annex 7 - Habitat and Species

Purpose

The purpose of this Annex is to contribute to the achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of this Agreement by conserving, protecting, maintaining, restoring and enhancing the resilience of native species and their habitat, as well as by supporting essential ecosystem services.

Programs and Other Measures

The Parties, subject to their respective laws and regulations, and 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. conduct a baseline survey of the existing habitat against which to establish a Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem target of net habitat gain and measure future progress;
     
  2. within two years of entry into force of this Agreement, complete the development and begin implementation of lakewide habitat and species protection and restoration conservation strategies that use adaptive management approaches, identify conservation mechanisms, and address the most significant stressors to native species and habitat;
     
  3. assess gaps in current binational and domestic programs and initiatives to conserve, protect, maintain, restore and enhance native species and habitat as a first step toward the development of a binational framework for prioritizing activities;
     
  4. facilitate binational collaborative actions to reduce the loss of native species and habitat, recover populations of native species at risk, and restore degraded habitat;
     
  5. renew and strengthen binational collaborative actions to conserve, protect, maintain, restore and enhance native species and habitat by identifying protected areas, conservation easements and other conservation mechanisms to recover populations of species at risk and to achieve the target of net habitat gain; and
     
  6. increase awareness of native species and habitat and the methods to protect, conserve, maintain, restore and enhance their resilience.

These programs and other measures will also contribute to recovery of populations of species at risk, restoration of degraded native habitat and species, and a net gain in habitat.

The Lakewide Action and Management Plans will be the principal mechanisms for coordinating development and implementation of the lakewide habitat and species protection and restoration conservation strategies under this Annex.

Science

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 conduct research and monitoring, as needed, to implement prevention measures that consider the climate change impacts and other stressors and improve the resilience of native species and habitat.

Reporting

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

Definition

In this Annex:

"Ecosystem Services" means the benefits people obtain from ecosystems such as: energy, food and water, biomedicines, flood prevention, biodiversity, climate regulation, erosion control, pest and pathogen control, soil formation, nutrient cycling, recreation, heritage, spiritual or personal fulfillment and other non-material benefits.