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Great Lakes Monitoring Inventory and Gap Analysis: Recommendations for Addressing Shortfalls and Improving Monitoring Coordination in the Great Lakes Basin Anne Sturm Great Lakes Commission Great Lakes Regional Data Exchange April 5, 2006

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Great Lakes Monitoring Inventory and Gap Analysis:Recommendations for Addressing Shortfalls and Improving Monitoring Coordination in the Great Lakes Basin

Anne Sturm

Great Lakes Commission

Great Lakes Regional Data Exchange

April 5, 2006

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Why was the Great Lakes Monitoring Inventory developed?

  • Need was identified for a comprehensive database of monitoring program metadata

  • Previous monitoring inventories developed by the Great Lakes Commission and others established the framework for this project

  • Commission was approached to expand monitoring inventory projects to the entire Great Lakes

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What is the Great Lakes Monitoring Inventory?

  • A comprehensive inventory of monitoring programs for the Great Lakes basin

    • Actively collected program metadata

    • Geographic database

    • Fully searchable online database

  • An analysis of gaps and overlaps in monitoring and associated recommendations for improving monitoring coverage and coordination

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Relationship to Similar Regional Efforts

  • Grant awarded to the Commission by the Joyce Foundation and EPA GLNPO in Spring 2002

  • Binational Executive Committee (BEC) began development of similar monitoring inventory concurrently

  • Scope of projects differed so each progressed independently

  • Duplication of effort minimized by sequenced data collection and data sharing

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Monitoring Inventory Methodology

  • Target Programs

    • Active monitoring programs focusing on water, air, biota, sediment, or land

  • Program Metadata – including 50 fields

    • Contact information, program description, parameters, geographic elements, methods, funding information, links to data location

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Program Metadata Collection

  • Previous inventory efforts (e.g. Lake Michigan, Lake St. Clair, Lake Ontario)

  • Online survey

  • Email and phone correspondence

  • Web searches for missing information

  • Information collected through BEC inventory

  • Monitoring inventory circulated throughout monitoring community

  • Issue area conference calls

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Monitoring Inventory Results

  • > 640 programs with extensive metadata

  • Majority of the monitoring programs taking place at the state/provincial level

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Water Quality Monitoring Programs by Lake

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Monitoring Inventory Limitations

  • US programs make up >80% of inventory entries

  • Commission relied on BEC inventory for Canadian program information

  • More detailed information is needed on Canadian monitoring efforts

  • To address shortfall, products circulated widely to US and Canadian agencies for review

  • All invited to participate on issue area conference calls to clarify analysis

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Searchable Online Database

  • Fully searchable monitoring program metadata

  • Searchable GIS mapping tool (in development)

    • GIS layers of sampling station locations associated with monitoring programs

    • Linked to program metadata


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Gap Analysis Methodology

  • Developed Needs Assessment using SOLEC indicators as the foundation

    • 21 needs categories identified

  • Gaps and overlaps in monitoring efforts assessed by comparing monitoring inventory results to needs assessment

    • Monitoring program characteristics were compared to the purpose and intent of SOLEC indicators

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Gap Analysis Methodology (cont.)

  • Gap analysis document circulated for review throughout the monitoring community

  • To insure a comprehensive review, issue area conference calls held to review gap analysis

    • > 50 participants on calls and more comments via email

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Monitoring Categories

  • Aquatic Invasive Species

  • Coastal Wetlands

  • Wildlife Ecology

  • Benthic and Invertebrate Ecology

  • Plant Ecology

  • Habitat and Community

  • Atmospheric Deposition

  • Nutrient Management

  • Land Use

  • Erosion

  • Fish Consumption

  • Drinking Water

  • Beach Safety

  • Air Monitoring

  • Water Quality

  • Sediment Quality

  • Soil

  • Groundwater

  • Climate/Weather

  • Fish Population Health

  • Urban Issues

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Observations and Recommendations:Climate/Weather

  • Much weather related data from land-based stations

  • 47 marine buoys, but not as widespread as land-based stations

  • Differences in spatial coverage may lead to accuracy differences between land and marine temperature models

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Observations and Recommendations:Sediment Monitoring

  • Considerable issue-driven sediment sampling

  • More baseline sediment monitoring may be needed

  • Little guidance on baseline sampling for nearshore or open waters

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Observations and Recommendations:Fish Consumption

  • US EPA measures contaminants through skin-on dorsal fillets, but the Ontario Sport Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program tests contaminants in skin-off dorsal fillets.

  • The Ontario program includes both dioxin and dioxin-like PCB contaminant levels for fish consumption restrictions; EPA relies solely on dioxin-like PCB analysis.

  • These discrepancies in analysis methods could limit usefulness for a Great Lakes basinwide evaluation.

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Observations and Recommendations:Water Quality Monitoring

  • Allocate financial resources based on current monitoring needs rather than previously set limits

  • Consider if the benefits of monitoring the toxic chemical concentrations in water is worth the added expense when similar data are collected in sediments and fish

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Monitoring Community Recommendations

  • Recommendations based on:

    • Findings from the Gap Analysis

    • Monitoring inventory results

    • Feedback from monitoring community

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Monitoring Community Recommendations

  • Encourage regular discussions among individuals managing similar monitoring programs

  • Monitoring programs need to be assessed for compatibility

  • Form coordinating bodies to organize monitoring efforts in each main issue area

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Monitoring Community Recommendations (cont.)

  • Federal and state monitoring directives and mandates should more carefully look at regional basinwide monitoring needs

  • Evaluate monitoring needs, costs, and current regulations prior to establishing funding levels

  • The monitoring inventory should be used by the SOLEC indicator working groups as a resource for information on monitoring efforts currently taking place in the region.

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Monitoring Inventory Improvements

  • More detailed information is needed on monitoring efforts in the Canadian portion of the Great Lakes basin.

  • The completeness and accuracy of monitoring inventory needs to be regularly evaluated by the Great Lakes monitoring community.

  • More information on specific monitoring locations is needed.

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Monitoring Inventory Improvements (cont.)

  • More information is needed on the funding sources that support monitoring programs.

  • Program descriptive information needs to be expanded.

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Future Maintenance

  • Limited support for maintenance of stand-alone inventory

  • Incorporate within a broader geospatial framework through GLOS

    • Distributed network of observation and monitoring efforts

    • Coordinate and integrate with BEC inventory?

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Next Steps

  • Disseminate findings to the monitoring community, resource managers, and federal and state legislators

    • Legislative briefing

    • Brochures

    • Website

  • Complete GIS portion of the web search database

  • Determine future integration with BEC inventory

  • Integrate findings into the GLOS initiative to enhance coordination and collaboration possibilities

Contact great lakes commission anne sturm asturm@glc org 734 971 9135 l.jpg
Contact:Great Lakes Commission Anne Sturm (