Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes: annex 10

Annex 10: science

The purpose of this annex is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Great Lakes science activities through planning, cooperation, coordination and communication.

Science is the basis for shared understanding of the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes, and for ensuring effective decision making and actions. Science in the context of this agreement includes monitoring, surveillance, observing, research, and modeling. Scientific information is used for effective decision making and for reporting on the conditions and progress in achieving environmental objectives and defining appropriate and necessary actions.

Science undertaken in support of the agreement must be coordinated, integrated, synthesized, shared, reported and effectively communicated in order to efficiently provide the Great Lakes community with the information required to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes.

Government and non-government organizations and individuals routinely collect and analyze data pertaining to the state of the Great Lakes ecosystem. A suite of binational, science-based indicators is used to report regularly on conditions and trends. This information will be shared with the Great Lakes community including resource managers and decision-makers to ensure that decisions are being made using the best available science.

This Annex contains commitments to review current Great Lakes science activities, compile current and planned science activities, and examine emerging issues in order to support an assessment of their comprehensiveness and identify any needs for additional science efforts. Opportunities will be explored to enhance integration of different types of knowledge including traditional knowledge contributed by First Nations and Métis. A five-year science activity summary (2014 -2019) will be developed to provide opportunities to better coordinate science efforts in support of management and policy decisions. Most of the science activities to meet these commitments will be undertaken through other Annexes.

Goal 1: Focus science on priorities that support domestic and binational Great Lakes management and policy decisions.

Result 1.1 - Identification of science priorities, along with the supporting science activities, to inform policy development and management actions to support the restoration, protection and conservation of the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes.

Canada and Ontario will:

  • (a) Develop and maintain a multi-year Canada-Ontario Great Lakes science activity summary in 2014/15 to assist in the coordination of scientific efforts under this agreement. This activity summary will include:
    1. An inventory of relevant current and planned science conducted by the governments of Canada and Ontario; and
    2. An assessment of the science needed for the delivery of the agreement.
  • (b) Undertake targeted, issue-specific reviews and assessments of key threats and emerging issues of concern to the Great Lakes as required;
  • (c) Update science priorities triennially, for review by the executive committee established by this agreement;
  • (d) Conduct, maintain and focus research programs to respond to science priorities and in order to promote research synergies to the greatest extent possible among Great Lakes government and non-government organizations; and
  • (e) Work with the Great Lakes community and the United States to identify binational science priorities triennially, taking into account the findings of the science information needs compilation, and the priorities identified by Canada-United States Water Quality Agreement Annexes, Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy, the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission and the International Joint Commission.

Result 1.2 - Coordinated science activities by Canada, Ontario and others to support the identified science priorities to restore, protect and conserve Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health.

Canada and Ontario will:

  • (a) Work with the United States and others to support a binational Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI) for Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario and Lake Michigan for the United States on a five-year rotational basis, coordinating activities that are focused on science priorities identified through the LAMPs; and
  • (b) Ensure necessary agreements are in place for the timely and effective exchange of data and information.

Goal 2: Undertake regular assessments and report on conditions and trends of the Great Lakes.

Result 2.1 - Assessment of the state of the Great Lakes using science-based ecosystem indicators.

Canada and Ontario will:

  • (a) Support indicator development, provide data and prepare indicator reports where applicable and encourage other Great Lakes government and non-government organizations to do the same.

Canada will lead, with Ontario’s support:

  • (b) Establish and maintain a suite of comprehensive, science-based ecosystem indicators to assess the state of the Great Lakes, anticipate threats and measure progress against the general and specific objectives of the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Result 2.2 - Regular public reports on the state of the Great Lakes.

Canada and Ontario will:

  • (a) Share Great Lakes data and information through existing means such as established fora, social media, agency websites and reports as well as investigate new opportunities to efficiently convey information on trends in Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health.

Canada will lead, with Ontario’s support:

  • (b) Develop a comprehensive binational assessment of the Great Lakes ecosystem based on agreed-upon environmental indicators.

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