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Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Basin Indicator Project

Great Lakes Monitoring

State of the Strait 2007 Report cover

State of the Strait report on the Status and Trends of Key Indicators

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Current Indicator Reports:

Pressure indicators describe direct and indirect pressures, including human activities, that impact the environment. They are driving forces of environmental change such as increased resource use, transportation patterns, pollutant emissions, sprawl, population growth, or the rate at which contaminants and invasive species are being introduced. Pressure indicators measure the factors that cause changes in the ecosystem.

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State indicators describe the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the natural world, and human health and welfare. Through monitoring of state indicators we can measure how ecosystem conditions change. State indicators may be levels of air or water quality, contaminants in fish, wildlife population levels, or diseases in animals or humans. State indicators also give a measure of current ecosystem status to use as a reference when assessing the impact of future activities. State indicators measure impacts of pressure indicators.

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Response indicators describe societal actions in policy or behavior undertaken to improve and protect the ecosystem. These actions can originate from groups, individuals, corporations, or government policies that ultimately improve ecosystem conditions. Response indicators may be pollution regulations and control measures, habitat rehabilitation and restoration, use of clean technologies, and other activities that improve the health of the ecosystem. Others specifically reverse the negative driving forces of pressure indicators like resource use, transportation, pollution, land use, or population.

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restored wetlands in the Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Basin

Restored wetlands in the Grosse Ile Nature Area

There is a long history of U.S.-Canada cooperation on investigating, monitoring, and managing the Great Lakes, including the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie. The Detroit River-Western Lake Erie ecosystem has many long-term data sets because of its manufacturing history that contributed to many long-standing environmental and natural resource problems. This Detroit River-Western Lake Erie indicator project will:

What is an Indicator?

An indicator is a measurable feature that provides useful information on ecosystem status, quality or trends and the factors that affect them. Examples of indicators used in this report include contaminants in fish, coastal wetland loss, reproductive success of threatened and endangered species, urban sprawl, land use changes, pollutant emissions, and many others. Indicator reporting clearly communicates ecosystem trends to policy makers and managers to aid in decision-making.

Indicators are frequently placed into three different categories to illustrate causal relationships: pressure, state, and response.

Policy-makers and decision-makers at all levels need timely, reliable, and relevant information on indicators for management purposes. Indicators measure progress toward management goals and objectives. From a management perspective, particular emphasis needs to be placed on quantifying targets and endpoints for management programs.

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Purpose of the Indicator Project - The purpose of this project is to:

In order to narrow the scope of this project and keep it manageable, particular emphasis will be given to ecosystem indicators from the Detroit River-Western Lake Erie basin, however, it is recognized that some indicators will be larger in scope and include the entire Huron- Erie corridor (St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River and Western Lake Erie).

Benefits of the Indicator Project - This indicator project will help:

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Current Indicator Project Partners:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant
Environment Canada
Metropolitan Affairs Coalition
U of M -School of Natural Resources
Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Ontario Ministry of Environment
Southeast Michigan Raptor Research
U.S. Geological Survey
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Heidelberg College
U.S. Coast Guard
Detroit Audubon Society
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
University of Michigan - Dearborn
University of Windsor
DTE Energy
International Joint Commission
Michigan Sea Grant
Monroe Water Intake
The Nature Conservancy
Essex Region Conservation Authority
Canadian Consulate
Wayne State University
Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Geological Survey
International Association for Great Lakes Research
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

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Join the Indicator Project Team:

To become a partner in this Indicator Project please contact:

U.S. Co-Chair
John H. Hartig, Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Phone: 734-692-7608
E-mail: john_hartig@fws.gov

Canadian Co-Chair
Michael Zarull, Project Chief, Sediment Remediation
National Water Research Institute
Environment Canada
Phone: 905-336-4783
E-mail: Michael.Zarull@ec.gc.ca

Greg Norwood, Biological Science Technician
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Phone: 734-692-7611
E-mail: greg_norwood@fws.gov

Ashlee Vincent, Environment Canada Science Horizons Intern
University of Windsor
Phone: 519-253-3000 x 4764
E-mail: ashlee@uwindsor.ca

Emily Wilke
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
E-mail: ewilke@swmlc.org

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Links to more information:

Environmental Indicators Initiative (www.epa.gov/indicators/)

State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference ( www.epa.gov/glnpo/solec/)

Great Lakes National Program Office, Environmental Indicators (www.epa.gov/glnpo/glindicators/)

Great Lakes Ecosystem Report 2000 (www.epa.gov/grtlakes/rptcong/2001/)

Detroit River Area of Concern (www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/detroit.html)

Sustainable Development Indicators, Interagency Working Group (www.sdi.gov/) exit EPA

1999 Report of Leading Environmental Indicators (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) exit EPA

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