IJC's Great Lakes Regional Office Celebrates 40th Anniversary
[Windsor, ON] – Today, the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Regional Office (GLRO) celebrated its 40th anniversary. Created by the 1972 Canada-US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (Agreement), the GLRO has played a key role in helping the two countries work together to protect and restore the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem. GLRO scientists and staff provide support to binational advisory groups that examine critical transboundary pollution issues and make recommendations to governments.
"For more than a generation, the GLRO has tackled the toughest issues confronting the Great Lakes," said Dr. Saad Jasim, GLRO Director. "From invasive species to chemicals of emerging concern, our office has taken the lead in alerting governments and providing much-needed scientific data and analysis to assist them in addressing problems. We are grateful for the contributions of scientists from both countries and for public support and input that has made our work possible."
Over the years, the GLRO has developed a reputation as a "watchdog" over the Great Lakes, assessing the work of governments in cleaning up toxic hotspots around the Great Lakes. Just as important, the GLRO has the role of educating the public about challenges facing the lakes and engaging stakeholders in a transparent process to make sure all voices are heard. These important roles continue under the newly revised Agreement which recently came into force.
Currently, GLRO priorities include:
- The Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority (LEEP) to Reduce Phosphorus and Algal Blooms. LEEP is expected to release a draft report in May, inviting public input on findings and recommendations to government to address the harmful algae problem in Lake Erie.
- Assessment of Progress toward Restoring the Great Lakes. The focus of this priority is bringing together experts from both countries to develop a set of ecological and human health indicators that can be used to gauge progress. Work also includes examining monitoring needs.
- Strengthening the Capacity to Deliver Great Lakes Science and Information. This priority is assessing whether the U.S. and Canada have the resources needed to conduct the research associated with Agreement objectives. Efforts also include linking environmental, natural resources and human health data to support research and policy development.
Editor’s Note: Congratulatory messages from both Canada and U.S. elected officials and community leaders are available here.