Great Lakes Water Quality Board 176th Meeting
Additional work will be done over the summer to add to the report (finishing literature review, completing consensual map, and technical report). The analysis of linkages still needs to be completed for the WOE report and the target date for completion is by the end of the summer. They may not change no regrets management and the completed technical report will have much more detail. Over the next two to three months there is substantial work to be done. It is suggested that a summary in front will help people understand whether there has been an increase in P or a change in the soluable reaction P ratio. The point of the entire report is to understand eutrophication and that there is still a large amount to learn. Current load reduction targets may be too high and may need to be reduced further in a revised Agreement. People feel the need to reconnect with the Lakes and we need to communicate understanding of what is going on in the lakes. It is suggested that eutrophication may need to be approached in a different way in the future.
4. Nearshore Framework
It is questioned whether we have the institutional arrangements necessary to address the nearshore (such as mechanisms, coordination, knowledge, and research). It is suggested that we need a better monitoring framework in the nearshore part of the LaMP’s. There is also a need to establish a biomonitoring program and a database for reference areas. A monitoring index has the ability to identify areas in good condition that need to be protected or bad areas. This index could help convey diagnostic info about the problem. It is important to realize it is not just about curing but also protecting those areas in good condition and there is a need for an extensive set of reference systems which may be difficult because the Great Lakes is extremely unique.
5. Clean Beaches and Recreational Water Quality
The birds and wildlife contamination issue is not presented in the paper and therefore the work group cannot attribute what percentage of each contribute to the problem. A few issues include using predictive models and preventing human pathogens from being in the water in the first place. It was suggested that using weather forecasting to predict overflows could be used as a preventative method. Work should be done towards real time management rather than retrospective measurements. In addition, more specific indicators and beach specific tools would likely help the situation. There is a need to look farther into the algae and human pathogen relationship. Another issue is the lack of definition of a beach, as the Detroit River has no classified beaches. There is also a need for broader forecasting.
6. Chemicals of Emerging of Concern
It is recommended that the U.S. be part of the International Conventions for addressing CEC’s. There is concern that the public will see a list of chemicals and not realize that some are only present in trace amounts. Help is needed in communicating this message. Adequacy of screening criteria is an issue and there is a need to emphasize prevention rather than treatment. Regulation by mode of action needs better explanation, perhaps with an example, and there is a need to research the amount of these chemicals that are going through the human system before disposal. Another area to look into is controlling the release in the body to prevent waste. There is a need to do a better job treating waste water to prevent these chemicals from entering the Lakes in the first place. The report may be too general and may need an executive summary and reference appendices.
7. Great Lakes Fish Consumption – Risks and Benefits
Fish consumption is never compared to poultry or beef (comparative risk assessment is not used to compare different risks). There is a need for more funding for research. The report focuses on PCB’s and methyl mercury which has been examined in the past but more research on other contaminants is needed. There is no data on Omega-3 fatty acids in Great Lakes fish and there is a need to bridge information gaps. Perhaps an area of research could involve looking into the use of fish lower in the food chain. Also important to note is the fact that there will be more pressure to increase Great Lakes farmed fish stocks as ocean stocks reseed.
8. Aquatic Invasive Species Binational Rapid Response Policy Framework
Response options and the surveillance piece are very important sections. In many cases there is no opportunity for rapid response. A risk assessment should be carried out if the “nuclear” option were to be used. In Canada, the Fisheries Act may make it illegal to use anything toxic.
9. Summay/Next Steps
Recommendations for Editing Reports
10. Other Business
The soon to be retiring Secretary of the SAB was recognized and thanked for his service to the Board and the IJC.