Great Lakes, Multiple Concerns


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Presentation at the Lake Erie Management Plan Public Forum held in March 2010.

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Great Lakes, Multiple Concerns

  1. 1. Great Lakes – Multiple Concerns Eutrophication Contaminants Habitat degradation and loss Invaders Immediate issues change but the causes remain the same - GLWQA
  2. 2. Multiple Participants Public – use and influence resources Agencies – track and regulate Researchers – understand processes Managers – set & implement policy • Scales are so large that communication is difficult. • Many issues acting at once. • New ‘crises’ each year.
  3. 3. Significant Events 1950s-70s Increasing Eutrophication (high TP & frequent anoxia) 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Act (regulation of TP loadings) 1987 Dreissenids in Lake Erie 1995 Increasing water clarity – percid losses 1997 “too little phosphorus!- add sewage!” arguments 1998 Buffalo & Kent State dreissenid effects meetings 1999 LEMN trophic status workshop 2001 Rising TP - central basin hypoxia (“L. Erie’s dead zone!”) EPA Chicago meeting – “Possible causes” 2002 EPA GLNPO RFP LETS project 2004 L. Erie Binational Collaborative Year (ECCS) 2005 IFYLE project
  4. 4. Total Phosphorus in Lake Erie – Central basin 40 C E N T R A L B A S IN M o n th ly A v e ra g e M. Charlton 35 (Envir. Canada) 30 25 -1 TP (uf) ug l 20 15 10 5 0 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Y ear Gradual changes are difficult to detect against a variable background Monitoring data provides a critical means of reconstructing trends, but often after the fact.
  5. 5. 40 C E N T R A L B A S IN M o n th ly A v e ra g e M. Charlton 35 (Envir. Canada) 30 25 -1 TP (uf) ug l 20 15 10 5 0 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Y ear “Dead Zebra Percid declines: zone” mussels Too little Phosphorus? Is phosphorus a good indicator of Lake Erie’s trophic status? It depends on one’s point of view
  6. 6. Disruptions to the Lake Erie Food Web – one cause? Yes at any instant Too much phosphorus? (proximal causes) Too little surface chlorophyll? Yes (at any instant) (short-term drivers) Small, persistent hypolimnion? Greater respiration? More nutrients from lake bottom and shorelines? Invaders? Habitat modification and loss? (ultimate causes) Climate change? How do we define and address multiple problems? • Multiple, contrasting points of view • Cooperative actions (Project HYPO; LETS; ECCS; IFYGL)
  7. 7. Nutrient Loading Nutrient Loading Ecosystem Health Ecosystem Health Natural Land Natural Land “Natural Land” Limitation “Nutrient Loading” Limitation of Ecosystem Health of Ecosystem Health
  8. 8. Lake Erie Millennium Network (LEMN) Binational Network - formed November 1998 Convening Organizations: F.T. Stone Lab - Ohio State University (Jeff Reutter) NWRI - Environment Canada (Chris Marvin) Large Lakes Research lab - US EPA (Russ Kreis) GLIER - University of Windsor (Jan Ciborowski) Sponsors: Federal, State, Provincial, Regional organizations Collaborators: Groups active in research/information exchange
  9. 9. What Originally Prompted the Network? Researchers: Limited research funding sources (lake-wide questions need collaborative, multidisciplinary expertise) Agencies: LaMPs mandated to ask questions, but poor link between mandates & research knowledge base. (recent research findings & tools) Public: uninformed lobbying for changes in management strategies to resolve ‘crises’ Goal: Develop an open, inclusive, binational framework to a) address management needs b) understand the ecosystem c) communicate research findings/needs
  10. 10. “Research Needs” Workshop Philosophy Identify data needs that - test hypotheses generated by strong inference approach - provide necessary values for modelling needs Strong Inference: multiple hypotheses that distinguish among alternative explanations. Research: “Monitoring with an hypothesis”. (Planning to use monitoring data to test expectations of hypotheses).
  11. 11. Strong inference challenge for research questions: • Summarize possible explanations. • For each explanation, what unique prediction could be made that would distinguish it from the other explanations? • What would happen if explanation is correct? What other explanations could produce the same result? • What key variable(s) would change to support the prediction? • How large a change (X) is needed to be biologically meaningful? • How many measurements would be needed for ‘X’ to be statistically significant (unlikely to have occurred by chance)?
  12. 12. Coordination Advisory Committee (representatives of Sponsoring Agencies) Co-Coordinators (2 in US; 2 in Canada) at 4 nodal institutions: (2 univ.; 2 gov’t research labs) Agency working personnel Univ. & lab researchers (issues/problems) (processes/unknowns) Larger Lake Erie Community (conferences; reports; proposals)
  13. 13. Coordination Co-coordinators Agency working personnel Univ. & lab researchers Suite of prevailing issues Suite of research issues LEMN Biennial Conferences Lake status; Suite of combined needs Research Definition workshops Status of issues; Coordinated research proposals
  14. 14. Supporting Groups Sponsors Collaborators__ (funds for meetings, publications, etc.) (contribute to data needs, etc.) Essex Region Conservation Authority Citizens Environment Alliance Great Lakes Fishery Commission Cornell University Biological Station International Joint Commission Ducks Unlimited Lake Erie Lakewide Area Management Plan Essex County Stewardship Network through Environment Canada & US EPA Great Lakes Commission Michigan Sea Grant Great Lakes Environ. Res. Lab - NOAA Lake Erie Protection Fund Great Lakes Research Consortium New York Sea Grant Great Lakes Lab Fisheries & Aquatic Ontario Ministry of the Environment Sci. - Fisheries & Oceans Canada Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Ontario Commercial Fishery Assoc. Pennsylvania Dept. Environmental Protection Ontario Fed. of Hunters & Anglers Pennsylvania Sea Grant Ohio Dept. Natural Resources US Geological Survey - Gt. Lakes Sci. Ctr. Ohio Environ. Protection Agency Ontario Ministry Agriculture & Food Campbell Scientific Water Environment Federation DTE Energy, Inc. Hoskin Scientific
  15. 15. Strategy 1. document research & management needs of users and agencies Prevailing Issues Workshop 1.0 – November 1998 - identify major questions and management issues Outcome: list and classification of needs: - 48 separate topics in 7 subject areas workshop themes Prevailing Issues Review Workshop – June 2006 - 10 topics reduced in priority (+ ‘Y2K’ problem solved) - 17 additional topics; 2 new subject areas (communication) - higher priority theme: watershed impacts on lake condition
  16. 16. Strategy 2. Binational Conferences (1999; 2001; 2003; 2006; 2008) - 30-45 invited speakers + contributed posters; 175+ attendees - no concurrent sessions - compile current knowledge of Lake Erie processes - forecast trends for the next 3-5 years - identify critical research gaps - take stock: - what do we know? - what do we understand? - what do we need to know/understand? Outcomes: - “Research Needs” workshops --> summarize consensus on the 7 subject areas - status reports & proposals - collaborative research teams
  17. 17. 3. forming collaborative groups (open to all) Monitoring Hypothesis Modeling testing Research Questions Status of the Lake Management Needs Policy Relationship among management, research, & monitoring needs within LEMP.
  18. 18. Workshops and Research Arising 1. Limits on Energy Transfer in the Lake Erie Ecosystem - Critical Tests of Hypotheses EPA-funded Lake Erie Trophic Status project (2002): -28 PI’s funded by US EPA ($500K) -all agency collaboration $2M in kind support - Journal of Great Lakes Research special issue (June/06) 2. Contaminant Processes in Lake Erie (2000) - Part I. Loadings, Spatial Patterns, and Temporal Trends - Part II. Mechanisms and Processes - Part III. Ecosystem Implications [review papers] 3. Habitat Structure, Function, and Change Anticipating effects of water level changes on habitat distribution & quality in the Huron-Erie Corridor - funded by GLFC; 5 PI’s & cooperators; models proposed (2004) Binational Mapping Strategy for Lake Erie watershed - funded by US EPA & Envir. Cda. (2005/06) -12 PI’s & cooperators - all agency collaboration
  19. 19. Workshops and Research Arising 4. Land-Lake Loadings IJC & OMAFRA Sponsored workshops (2008-2010): -28 PI’s funded by US EPA ($500K) -all agency collaboration $2M in kind support - Journal of Great Lakes Research special issue (June/06) 5. Understanding Causes of Nearshore Eutrophication (2009) - 7 integrated projects funded by US EPA & LEPF - parallel studies in Ontario
  20. 20. Charge to the LEMN Conference – Apr/08 Nutrients & Trophic Structure Open lake nutrient dynamics & trophic structure seem to be regulated by regional processes. Weather likely plays a significant role • Assess at basin-scale, with integrative sampling & observing systems? Nearshore nutrient dynamics & trophic structure are regulated by local coupling & feedback loops. Local nutrient sources & dreissenids are likely important. • Assess at contributing watershed scale? What are the key research questions? What key variables/processes should we measure? Where? How often? For how long? Is the proposed habitat zone system suitable for these studies?
  21. 21. Current LEMN - associated Projects 1. An integrated habitat classification and map of the Lake Erie basin 2. Loadings from Land to Lake: Nutrient effects at the coastal margin & nearshore Response to L. Erie LAMP requests for habitat-related research needs & strategies Participants: 1/3 university; 2/3 agency & institute scientists & technical experts
  22. 22. AN INTEGRATED HABITAT CLASSIFICATION AND MAP OF THE LAKE ERIE BASIN (Lake Erie Binational Map Project) Lucinda B. Johnson Jan J.H. Ciborowski Scudder D. Mackey Ric Lawson Nicholas E. Mandrak Daniel T. Button Funded by the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
  23. 23. Land Zones . Terrestrial (watersheds) Tributaries & inland waters Coastal wetlands Lake Zones . coastal margin (watersheds) nearshore open lake open water – offshore
  24. 24. Integrated Land Cover – Lake Erie
  25. 25. Courtesy of OhioLink Consortium Image Server: Western L. Erie 10 days after power failure; August 2003)
  26. 26. D. bugensis (profunda) D. polymorpha (zebra) D. bugensis (quagga) D.R. Barton, Univ. Waterloo
  27. 27. D.R. Barton, Univ. Waterloo
  28. 28. The Lake Erie Collaborative Comprehensive Study (ECCS) Sampling design to estimate distribution, abundance & biomass of Dreissenidae and other zoobenthos Jan J.H. Ciborowski1, David R. Barton2, Kenneth A. Krieger3, Timothy B. Johnson4, Stephen Lozano4 1Dept.of Biological Sciences , University of Windsor 2Department of Biology, University of Waterloo 3Water Quality Laboratory, Heidelberg College 4 Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 5Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, NOAA
  29. 29. Erie Comprehensive Collaborative Study (ECCS) - 2004 Sampling locations for Erie Comprehensive Collaborative Study, 2004. Open circles, offshore stations; closed circles, nearshore stations. Stations are numbered consecutively from east-to-west and north-to-south. Map courtesy of Jeffrey Zhu, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
  30. 30. Number of sampling locations visited by research vessels. Triplicate zoobenthic and (where appropriate) other samples were collected at each location. 4444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444 Vessel Agency Captain/Supervisor No. Sites Limnos Env. Canada Bruce Gray & David Gilroy 103 Cyclops NOAA David Fanslow 36 Parrot Env. Canada Bruce Gray & David Gilroy 30 Erie Explorer ON MNR Ken Hill 25 Keenosay ON MNR Craig McDonald 38 Loftus ON MNR Craig McDonald 22 Loon Ranger Univ. Windsor Todd Leadley 16 Stone Lab vessel F.T. Stone Lab Matt Thomas 6 Univ. Toledo vessel Univ. Toledo Tom Bridgeman 7 Total 283 ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) Summary of nearshore and offshore collections by basin 44444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444 Location western central eastern Total Nearshore 37 54 33 124 Offshore 53 54 52 159 Total 90 108 85 283 )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
  31. 31. Nearshore Eutrophication Work Group of the IJC; L. Erie LAMP Binational Nutrient Management Strategy Workgroup “Determining Weight of Evidence for Causes of Great Lakes Eutrophication” “Consensual Fuzzy Cognitive Map of Causes of Eutrophication” “L. Erie Land and Water - Clarifying the Agriculture - Eutrophication Linkage” (OGLP-sponsored meeting - March 23, London, ON) Two Fuzzy Conceptual Models (FCM) of causes of eutrophication
  32. 32. Hollenhorst et al. JGLR 2007 (in press)
  33. 33. 5. A Total Phosphorus (TP) Indicator for Lake Erie and binational map of current conditions (Indicators Subcommittee of L. Erie LAMP)
  34. 34. Stressor scores (SumRel) for watersheds St. Louis River Watershed, Minnesota • Composite metric based on cumulative scores for: – % Agricultural land use – Population density – Road density – Point source density
  35. 35. 4. “The Nearshore and Offshore Lake Erie Nutrient Study” (NOLENS) (EPA GLNPO funded) Integrated Projects: Sources & transport of bioavailable phosphorus (Winston et al.) Central & eastern basin studies of nearshore/offshore nutrient pools, fluxes and their interactions (Pennuto et al.) Movement of phosphorus from agricultural fields (Mullen et al.) Linking soil test phosphorus with agricultural runoff phosphorus (Dayton et al.) Connecting phosphorus load, transport, and biological use: how does Microcystis use phosphorus and where is the bloom trigger point? (Conroy et al.) Lake Erie Algal Source Tracking (LEAST) (Bridgeman et al.) Reports at January 2010 meeting & LEMN Conf. Metadata upload to WEEMS pending QA/QC
  36. 36. Summary 1. The LEMN is an open network of interested participants working to develop a binational research framework 2. Nearshore water quality & habitat reflect timing, amount & quality of materials transported from the watersheds – opportunity for closer ties with RAPs in AOCs & associated funding for research 3. Maintaining a balance of university & agency/institutional researchers ensures that research initiatives combine fundamental knowledge with agency needs.
  37. 37. Great Lakes Regional Research and Information Network (GLRRIN) Jeffrey M. Reutter, Ph.D. IJC CGLRM
  38. 38. Objectives • Build upon the LEMN model to coordinate communicate collaborating on research, education, and outreach efforts on each of the Great Lakes and an overall network for the entire region.
  39. 39.