Vol. 1, Issue 2 - Great Lakes Connection - IJC
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The Agreement and You: Great Lakes Progress Reports Provide Key Opportunity to Participate in Lakes’ Future Health

By IJC staff

GLWQAThe Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, signed in 1972, was most recently revised in 2012.

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is often cited as one of the most forward-thinking international agreements to protect, restore and enhance a specific aquatic ecosystem. Federal, state and provincial laws and programs were created to provide funding and fulfill the Agreement’s goals. Collectively, they reflect the immense value of the lakes to both countries and their citizens.

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IJC Staff, Board Members Present at Great Lakes Research Conference


By IJC staff

The theme for the 2016 conference was “Great Lakes Solutions: Integrating Across Disciplines & Scales.”

Every year, hundreds of the Great Lakes region’s scientists and educators present their latest research findings at the annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR).

The University of Guelph in Ontario hosted this year’s meeting from June 6-10, where more than 700 attendees listened to 400 presentations that spanned the gamut of Great Lakes science and management – from fisheries management and food chain dynamics to watershed case studies and remote sensing. 

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IAGLR 2016
Shoreline Hardening
Common methods of shoreline hardening include concrete riprap (A), wooden cribbing (B), and seawalls (C), which dramatically alter shoreline habitats from their natural state (D). 

Humans Can Be Hard on Shorelines – There’s a Better Way
By Scott Tiegs, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Aquatic Ecology Lab, Department of Biological Sciences, Oakland University, Rochester Michigan
Stacey Wensink, M.S., Special Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Oakland University, Rochester Michigan

People like to be near the water, and that sentiment has led to intensive development along much of Great Lakes shoreline. How does this development impact the health of shoreline ecosystems?

One particular activity --- shoreline hardening --- has great potential to impact the ecology of shorelines and the ecosystem services they provide.             
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Great Lakes Watermark – Paddling and Flying
By IJC staff

Our Great Lakes Watermark project continues this month with stories from Jill Bartolotta, an educator with Ohio Sea Grant, and Jennifer Nalbone of Buffalo, New York.

The IJC is partnering with Lake Ontario Waterkeeper to collect and publish a special Great Lakes Watermark collection. We’re compiling video, audio and written stories of your personal, emotional and cultural connections to the lakes, and ways you use and value these precious bodies of water.
Watch below. Great Lakes watermarks also are being posted to a new Watermark project page at, where you can contribute your own story.
Jill Bartolotta Watermark
Jennifer Nalbone Watermark

Get Involved
Get Involved

By IJC staff

If you live in Canada or the United States and love the Great Lakes, there are lots of ways to get involved. Boating, fishing, swimming, or relaxing at the beach may come to mind. So should making your voice heard.

As governments in the two countries go about their work, they often ask for public comment. And just like wearing a hat when the sun is high in the sky, providing input before major decisions are made at the federal, provincial, state or local level is a good idea.     

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Learning from Local Government Leaders in Great Lakes Water Protection

By Eric Zeemering, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University, Department of Public Administration
Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy

Great Lakes Basin

As summer approaches, residents of the Great Lakes will flock to favorite lakeshore communities. The cities and local governments on the lakes are the front lines in protection and restoration efforts to keep the lakes healthy for consumption, recreation and commerce.

For this reason and many others, we must invest more time and effort preparing local governments to exercise leadership in Great Lakes water protection efforts.

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Eight Ways to Assess the Health of the Great Lakes

By Ankita Mandelia, Sea Grant Fellow
IJC Great Lakes Regional Office, Windsor, Ontario

To assess progress toward improving water quality, scientists use ecosystem indicators to measure whether things are getting better, worse, or staying the same.

The IJC’s Great Lakes Science Advisory Board is completing a process to identify a subset of 16 indicators that can be used to communicate progress toward improving the health of the Great Lakes.

That list is pared down further to eight indicators – the fewest that tell us the most – that address biological, chemical and physical integrity.                                

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Great Lakes Indicators
Fish Ears

Great Lakes Learning: From Algae to Zooplankton

By Kara Lynn Dunn, Publicist, New York Sea Grant Great Lakes

Ever wondered how fish hear, what they eat, or what they might say about the conditions of a local river? New York Sea Grant (NYSG) educators can help you find answers to these and other questions about living in the eastern end of the Great Lakes region.

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GLANSIS: A One-Stop Shop for Great Lakes Aquatic Invaders

By Katherine Glassner-Shwayder, NOAA Affiliate
Rochelle Sturtevant, NOAA Regional Sea Grant Specialist
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The health of the Great Lakes ecosystem has been jeopardized for decades by invasions of more than 180 aquatic nonindigenous species. These non-native species include fish, plants and pathogens that arrived here in many ways, from seeds carried by early European settlers to ballast water from ocean-going vessels.

To establish a united front in the battle against Great Lakes aquatic invasions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory has helped to create the Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System (GLANSIS).    

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