Under this priority, the Commission will develop a report analyzing the scientific, economic and social issues related to the causes and controls of harmful algal blooms. For example, a binational group of scientists is examining the source of phosphorus loads to the lake and how climate change might affect the amount and timing of those inputs. They are also assessing the adequacy of monitoring programs and the effectiveness of agricultural and urban best management practices and other alternative solutions to reducing nutrient loads. Other researchers are looking at the economic impact of excess algal growth compared to the costs and benefits of potential solutions.
One of the Commission’s core functions under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is preparation of a report to be delivered every three years to the U.S. and Canadian governments that assesses progress toward Agreement objectives. The IJC is working to define environmental and human health indicators that will help track progress, developing a framework for assessing the effectiveness of government Great Lakes programs, and documenting existing environmental monitoring and future monitoring needs.
Strengthening the Capacity to Deliver Great Lakes Science and Information
Great Lakes science and information is essential to effective Great Lakes management. Making that science and information available to diverse users is a Commission priority. The IJC is working to coordinate and make accessible a comprehensive list of data sets, including health and environmental data.
The Great Lakes benefit from a fully informed and engaged public. The IJC is implementing an integrated strategic education and outreach plan that enables citizens to participate meaningfully in discussions and decision-making about the health of the Great Lakes.