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Expanding Environment Canada’s Great Lakes Research and Monitoring Program

2012-02-27

Expanding Environment Canada’s Great Lakes Research and Monitoring Program

Photo showing a body of water with blue-green algae in the nearshore zone | © J. JardineAt a recent International Joint Commission Biennial meeting, Dr. Chris Marvin presented information on Environment Canada’s new nearshore research and monitoring program: Great Lakes Nutrients and Nearshore Program. The new program expands on EC’s current offshore-based programs to better reflect conditions on a lake-wide basis by including contributing watersheds and nearshore zones. The expanded program will improve our understanding of the link between nutrient-induced impairments in the nearshore and nutrients derived from land-based activities. The results of the research, monitoring, and modelling efforts will be combined to assess current status, and to develop targets, tools, and approaches intended to help protect the health of the Great Lakes. The new program addresses Extension 2011–12 of the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem, proposed amendments to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and recognition by stakeholders of the importance of the nearshore zone in watershed, nearshore, and open lake issues.

In a related special public meeting on Lake Erie, Dr. Sue Watson, who is a member of the Science Advisory Board, summarized the current understanding of the causes and threats associated with the increasingly severe outbreaks of harmful algal blooms caused by toxigenic and other harmful species. While nutrient management is key to the eventual control of these blooms, more intense and detailed work at the cellular and molecular levels is required to develop more effective risk management, and to predict and manage the species dominating these blooms and their toxic and harmful effects.

Contacts: Chris Marvin, 905-319-6919, Chris.Marvin@ec.gc.ca; Sue Watson, 905-336-4759, Sue.Watson@ec.gc.ca | Aquatic Ecosystem Management Research