Support for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration
Staff from the Environmental Quality Program continues to track the status of the Great
Lakes Regional Collaborationís (GLRC) Area of Concern (AOC) and Habitat/Species
recommendations. Matt Doss, program manager, participates on the Federal-State
Areas of Concern Coordinating Committee, established pursuant to the GLRCís AOC
recommendations. Doss facilitated the Areas of Concern session at the Second Annual
Great Lakes Restoration Conference convened by the Healing Our Waters Coalition in
September 2006. He also will present on the U.S. AOC program at the Great Lakes
United annual meeting in June 2007. Doss serves on the Project Delivery Team for the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Habitat Initiative and is also providing
support to the GLRCís Wetlands Initiative.
Support to Great Lakes Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans
The Commission continues to provide staff support to the Statewide Public Advisory
Council (SPAC) for Michiganís Areas of Concern Program with funding provided by the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The Council currently is
focusing on implementing new statewide delisting guidance for Michiganís AOCs,
completed in January 2006. Commission staff has assisted MDEQ in presenting the
delisting guidance to local public advisory councils and identifying specific actions that
need to be taken, at both the statewide level and for individual AOCs, to implement the
guidance. A key challenge is to develop AOC-specific delisting targets for fish and
wildlife impairments. The Commission convened a work session in November 2006 to
discuss MDEQís process for developing these targets. The Commission currently is
administering funding under the SPAC grant to nine AOC public advisory councils to
develop or implement delisting targets consistent with MDEQís new statewide
In April the SPAC released its 2007 Status Report and Legislative Agenda for Michiganís Great Lakes Areas of Concern Program
and convened meetings with Michigan state legislators to urge continued support for the program. SPAC officers have
testified before state legislative committees to highlight accomplishments in Michiganís AOCs and to urge continue
funding for MDEQ programs and services that support AOC cleanup efforts. Conducted annually by the SPAC, this
yearís outreach is particularly important given the budget crisis impacting state government in Michigan.
At a regional level, Commission staff convened representatives from the U.S. AOCs in February to discuss and solicit
support for legislative priorities for the AOCs. The Commission used this forum to recruit AOC representatives to
participate in Great Lakes Day in Washington. With support from the Healing Our Waters Coalition, many AOC
representatives participated in Great Lakes Day events and met with their Congressional representatives. They
provided a valuable, local voice to support the Great Lakes Commissionís legislative agenda.
Finally, the Commission is collaborating with U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA and the Cuyahoga River RAP to sponsor a
conference for the U.S. AOC program. Titled Great Lakes Areas of Concern: Achieving Restoration Targets and Sustaining
Stewardship, the conference will be held June 28-29, 2007 at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. The
conference will convene participants from the U.S. AOCs to review the status of the AOC program, identify
opportunities to expedite progress on key AOC tasks, and exchange information among AOC participants. The
Commission is administering funding to help representatives from local AOC groups participate in the conference.
This is the third regional AOC conference that the Commission has coordinated. The conference program and
registration materials will be distributed in late May and will be posted online at www.glc.org/rap/aocconference.
Lake Michigan Monitoring Coordination Council
The Commission continues to support the Lake Michigan Monitoring Coordination Council, formed in 1999 by federal,
state and local agencies to facilitate coordination among groups involved in ecosystem monitoring activities in the Lake
Michigan basin. The Council hosts workgroups that focus on ten issue-based monitoring networks in the Lake
Michigan basin, including tributaries, wetlands, wildlife and groundwater, among others. Each group is working to
establish strategies to better coordinate data collection, sharing and reporting.
Lake Michigan has been chosen as one of three pilot study sites to support development of the National Water Quality
Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters and their Tributaries (commonly known as the National Monitoring
Network, or NMN). Lake Michigan was selected as a NMN pilot in response to a Statement of Interest submitted by
the Lake Michigan Monitoring Coordination Council. The pilot study will be coordinated by the Great Lakes
Commission as part of its support for the Council. Other partners include the four Lake Michigan states, U.S. EPA and
the Great Lakes Observing System, among others. The initiative will test and refine the NMN design and may serve as
a catalyst for enhanced monitoring coordination throughout the Great Lakes basin. The Council is hosting an initial
workshop to kick-off the pilot study on May 10 in New Buffalo, MI. For more information, see
http://acwi.gov/monitoring/network or http://wi.water.usgs.gov/lmmcc.
With funding from U.S. EPA-GLNPO, the Councilís Tributary Workgroup has designed a coordinated tributary
monitoring event that commenced last year and continues this fall. Through the workgroup, the Commission is
coordinating state and federal agencies to combine monitoring efforts and supplement them with additional monitoring
to update pollutant load estimates to Lake Michigan from major tributaries. This intensive monitoring event serves to
validate forecasting and update results from the Lake Michigan Mass Balance project. An additional benefit is to
provide monitoring resources for three AOCs on Lake Michigan. Field sampling of a set of key parameters, including
total mercury, methyl mercury, PCBs, and a suite of nutrients, began in summer 2005 in several tributaries to Lake
Michigan by a federal-state agency partnership. Sampling was completed in summer 2006 and detailed analysis of
results is in its final stages.
Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Consortium
The Commission continues to facilitate the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Consortium. The Consortium is comprised
of wetlands researchers and resource managers and was developed through a cooperative agreement with U.S. EPAGLNPO.
The Consortiumís goal is to develop a long-term monitoring strategy and implementation plan for Great
Lakes coastal wetlands. To date, the Consortium has made progress in several areas. It has developed a set of standard
protocols for basinwide monitoring indicators. Field testing and metric development have been completed for a
number of biological indicators and the results have been published in peer-reviewed journals. A workshop was held in
January to compare Consortium-developed indicators with those of the Great Lakes Environmental Indicators project.
Both projects are currently working closely to develop the Consortiumís final monitoring plan.
A collaborative team of Canadian and U.S. experts merged coastal wetlands inventories and classified coastal wetlands
into a single, seamless map product. Also, examination of two different methods for collecting coastal data remotely
across the basin for assessment of wetland extent and landscape characteristics was completed. A comprehensive
database of potential monitoring personnel from federal, state and local agencies has also been developed. As part of
the final monitoring implementation plan due this September, Commission staff is investigating the capacity of various
organizations to assist with on-the-ground sampling and data collection in coming years. In the fall, the Commission
will plan a workshop to assist the Lake Ontario LaMP in developing coastal wetland indicators for Lake Ontario.
A near-term priority is to complete a data management system to house data from across the Great Lakes basin for
coastal wetland monitoring. The Commission continues to administer contractual work, assure the quality of work
being done, and maintain the information exchange webpage (www.glc.org/wetlands) and discussion lists.
Michigan Clean Water Corps
The Commission continues to work under contract with MDEQ to administer Governor Granholmís Michigan Clean
Water Corps Ė MiCorps Ė volunteer water quality monitoring program. The Commission is partnering with the Huron
River Watershed Council (HRWC) to consolidate and coordinate three state volunteer monitoring programs Ė the
Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program, Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program and Volunteer River, Stream and
Creek Cleanup Program. The Commission and HRWC manage MiCorps programs, recruit and train new participants,
administer grant funding, oversee quality control, implement a data exchange system, facilitate an annual statewide
conference, produce a semi-annual newsletter, and report on results.
To date, the project team has developed a website (www.MiCorps.net); established a web-based volunteer monitoring
program registry and directory; conducted a monitoring program survey; solicited, reviewed and contracted with nine
stream monitoring programs; established training materials and held volunteer monitoring training events; developed
quality assurance guidance and review protocols; reviewed quality assurance plans; published a program brochure;
published the first two issues of The MiCorps Monitor newsletter; conducted the annual MiCorps Conference;
developed the MiCorps Data Exchange Network, and drafted the first MiCorps Annual Report and Executive
Summary. The Data Exchange Network serves as the central location for all volunteer monitoring data collected
through the MiCorps program and includes both an online data entry system for MiCorps members, as well as a data
search interface for all interested parties. The next MiCorps conference is being held Oct. 15-16, 2007 at the Ralph
MacMullan Conference Center on Higgins Lake.
Under the Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup Program, Commission staff sent out the FY 2007 Grant
Application Package and received 10 proposals. Staff reviewed the proposals and submitted funding recommendations
to the MDEQ. Cleanup projects are located throughout Michigan and are generally completed by the end of October.
The program provides small grants ($500 to $5,000) to local units of government to support river and stream cleanup
projects. Ten cleanup projects were funded under the program in 2006.
Lake Erie Habitat Mapping Webpage
Commission staff are working with a broad set of partners to distribute habitat mapping products for the Lake Erie
basin using new geographic information system (GIS) tools on GLIN. The initiative began in June 2005 when habitat
experts from across the region met to review the status of habitat mapping and discuss data needs to complete the
process and consolidate efforts. A follow-up meeting was conducted in January 2006. The final web products are to be
unveiled in June 2007. See the project website at www.glc.org/eriehabitat for more information or contact Pete
Giencke at firstname.lastname@example.org