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  Ecosystem Management
in the Great Lakes Region

What's New | Overview | General Resources | Related Resources

 
What's New
Wisconsin DNR opens Lake Michigan fisheries plan to public review
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (7/16)
In an effort to keep up with the lake, its fish and its anglers, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources revises its fisheries plan every 10 years. Public comment is now sought on the draft plan.

COMMENTARY: New plan for Lake Ontario water levels would help regenerate vital wetlands
The Buffalo News (7/6)
A new plan developed by the International Joint Commission would allow more variation in Lake Ontario water levels to mimic natural fluctuations crucial to wetland health.

Great Lakes communities struggle against proposed nuclear waste facility
MintPress News (6/26)
As the approval process for the Deep Geologic Repository, or DGR, nears an end, some concerned citizens have started a petition asking lawmakers in Canada, as well as the United States, to block the approval of the proposed nuclear waste repository near the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant site in Kincardine, Ontario.

COMMENTARY: Ontario Government Premier Kathleen Wynne must act to protect the Great Lakes
The Huffington Post (6/23)
When the Ontario government returns following the election, Premier Kathleen Wynne needs to address the challenges facing the Great Lakes, particularly declining water levels and invasive species.

Public to help select marine sanctuaries
Courthouse News Service (6/18)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, has returned to its policy of allowing the public to nominate potential new national marine sanctuaries.

Sealing Manitoba harbors has killed off zebra mussels
Global News (6/18)
Manitoba has declared victory in its first battle with invading zebra mussels but says the unique treatment it used to kill the shellfish doesnít mean the province is free of them yet.

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Overview
An ecosystem approach to management recognizes the interrelated nature of air, land, water and all living beings. Rather than geopolitical boundaries and departmental divisions, this approach calls for creative partnerships that look at natural boundaries, such as watersheds, as the unit of management. An ecosystem approach involves the following principles:

  • Includes the whole system, and not just parts of it
  • Focuses on interrelationships among the components of the environment and between living and non-living things
  • Includes consideration of the natural environment, society and economy
  • Is based on natural geographic units such as watersheds
  • Incorporates the concepts of sustainability
  • Respects species other than humans and generations other than the present

Although the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978 calls for an ecosystem approach, only recently have initiatives begun to advocate and apply it. As a result, this section offers the holistic, ecosystem view, as well as the more traditional medium-based approaches.
 
References: Implementing an ecosystem approach: Challenges for science, policy and institutions, The ADVISOR, September/October 1994, Great Lakes Commission.
 
State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference Integration Paper, 1994

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General Resources
A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of the Great Lakes Fisheries
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
To alert all interest groups to fishery resource needs, provincial, state, tribal and federal fishery agencies agreed to a strong, practical, strategic Great Lakes fisheries management plan.

Aquatic Ecosystems in Canada
Environment Canada's Freshwater Web

Conservation 2000
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
This six-year, $100 million initiative takes a broad-based, long-term ecosystem approach to conserving, restoring and managing Illinois' natural lands, soils and water resources.

Critical Trends Assessment Program
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
CTAP is an on-going process to evaluate the state of the Illinois environment.

EcoAction
Environment Canada
Since 1995, Environment Canada's EcoAction Community Funding Program has provided financial support to community groups for projects that have measurable, positive impacts on the environment. Projects submitted should follow the themes of climate change, clean water, nature and/or clean air.

Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network
Environment Canada
The Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network (EMAN) is made up of linked organizations and individuals involved in ecological monitoring in Canada to better detect, describe, and report on ecosystem changes.

Ecosystem Approach
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has adopted an ecosystem approach toward the effective conservation of natural biological diversity.

Ecosystem Charter for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin
Great Lakes Commission
Publicly released in October 1994, the Ecosystem Charter ties a common thread through the many policies, laws and agreements in the Great Lakes Basin, and explicitly defines objectives for an ecosystem approach to management.

Environmental Programs
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Great Lakes Regional Headquarters
The Corps' environmental programs are associated with existing projects, new projects, administration of environmental regulations, and support to other agencies.

Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Check out this USFWS site for information on Great Lakes facts, invasive species, GIS research, education and much more!

Great Lakes Forever
Biodiversity Project
Great Lakes Forever is designed to raise awareness of the ecological value of the Great Lakes and concern about the threats to the ecosystemís health, and to encourage citizen involvement in Great Lakes protection.

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
International Joint Commission
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, signed by the United States and Canada in 1972 and revised in 1978 and 1987, established common water quality objectives for both countries.

Real People, Real Places
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Stories that illustrate the creative work of Minnesota's land managers as they figure out how best to use and protect our natural heritage.

Strategic Vision of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for the Decade of the 1990s
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
The strategic vision provides an explicit statement of the focus, intent and direction of commission programs from 1991 through the year 2000 and renews the commission's conviction that an ecosystem approach is essential for successful management of the Great Lakes.

Sustainable Ecosystems and Communities
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Community-Based Environmental Protection (CBEP) is an approach that EPA is taking to improve the effectiveness of nationwide regulations and other environmental programs.

The Ecozones of Canada
Canadian Council on Ecological Areas
This site introduces Canada's ecozones and the general concepts of ecological classification. Thinking, planning and acting in the context of ecosystems is essential for today's environmental management and sustainability issues.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Environment
GLIN: Biodiversity in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Habitats of the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs)
GLIN: Land Use in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Local Planning in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Remedial Action Plans for Great Lakes Areas of Concern

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Updated: July 24, 2014
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