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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

why was the great lakes monitoring inventory developed
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
what is the great lakes monitoring inventory
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
relationship to similar regional efforts
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
monitoring inventory methodology
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
program metadata collection
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
monitoring inventory results
Monitoring Inventory Results
  • > 640 programs with extensive metadata
  • Majority of the monitoring programs taking place at the state/provincial level
monitoring inventory limitations
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
searchable online database
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
gap analysis methodology
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
gap analysis methodology cont
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
monitoring categories
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
observations and recommendations climate weather
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
observations and recommendations sediment monitoring
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
observations and recommendations fish consumption
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.
observations and recommendations water quality monitoring
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
monitoring community recommendations
Monitoring Community Recommendations
  • Recommendations based on:
    • Findings from the Gap Analysis
    • Monitoring inventory results
    • Feedback from monitoring community
monitoring community recommendations27
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
monitoring community recommendations cont
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.
monitoring inventory improvements
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.
monitoring inventory improvements cont
Monitoring Inventory Improvements (cont.)
  • More information is needed on the funding sources that support monitoring programs.
  • Program descriptive information needs to be expanded.
future maintenance
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?
next steps
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
Contact:Great Lakes Commission Anne Sturm (