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Explore the Science behind the International Upper Great Lakes Study

IJC staff
Explore the Science behind the International Upper Great Lakes Study

What’s the legacy of the International Upper Great Lakes Study?

Hopefully, it will be improved regulation of outflows from Lake Superior at Sault Ste. Marie, an adaptive management plan to address future water level extremes and further study of restoration of Lake Michigan-Huron levels.

However the IJC’s recently issued Advice to Governments plays out, the Study leaves behind five years of science that has set a new benchmark for peer-reviewed research on the Great Lakes. After all of the work and funding that went in the Study, the IJC (and the Study Board) wanted to make sure all of the data was preserved.

Some of the reports from the Study are on shelves and in hard drives in IJC offices and elsewhere, ready to be referenced by the Canadian and U.S. governments --- and other agencies and institutions at the provincial, state, and local level.

Now, the same reports remain online at, a newly updated IJC microsite. This lines up with a section of the Study on Information Management, which called the collection of Study reports and data “a significant legacy” and included a management goal of encouraging “unrestricted access to data (page 21).”

Thus, we call a “legacy” site. It allows anyone, anywhere to search and access the tons of supporting science related to the Study, including technical reports, data sets, presentations and models. The site has been organized into a “Decision Tree,” allowing you to follow questions examined during each phase of the analysis, from start to finish.

More than 100 projects can be filtered by issue and stakeholders. You can drill down to the fine detail of key findings and recommendations, to see how they evolved.

For instance, on Lake Superior regulation:


As you explore, note the “breadcrumbs” at the top, which allow you to follow the path you’ve taken so far, and backtrack as necessary. You can scroll from left to right in your browser.

Intended audiences for this clearinghouse of Great Lakes information include the public, along with agency officials, researchers and scientists that manage the Great Lakes today --- and those that will make decisions in future years and decades.

If you have any questions, or trouble finding what you need, let us know. Comments and questions are encouraged and welcomed.

IJC staff

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