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Glossary

Adapted from the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study

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ECOLOGY - The science which relates living forms to their environment.

ECOSYSTEM - A biological community in interaction with its physical environment, and including the transfer and circulation of matter and energy.

ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY - A state of health, or wholesomeness of an ecosystem. It encompasses integrated, balanced and self-organizing interactions among its components, with no single component or group of components breaking the bounds of interdependency to singularly dominate the whole.

EMERGENTS - Plants rooted in soil under water but which emerge partially above the surface.

ENDANGERED SPECIES - A species threatened with extinction.

ENVIRONMENT - Air, land or water; plant and animal life including humans; and the social, economic, cultural, physical, biological and other conditions that may act on an organism or community to influence its development or existence.

ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY - The sustenance of important biophysical processes which support plant and animal life and which must be allowed to continue without significant change. The objective is to assure the continued health of essential life support systems of nature, including air, water, and soil, by protecting the resilience, diversity, and purity of natural communities (ecosystems) within the environment.

ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNICAL WORK GROUP - A group of scientific and technical experts that is investigating impacts of water level variations on fish, birds, plants and other wildlife in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system, with particular attention to ecological effects on wetlands.

EQUITABILITY - The assessment of the fairness of a measure in its distribution of favorable or unfavorable impacts across the economic, environmental, social, and political interests that are affected.

EROSION - The wearing away of land surfaces through the action of rainfall, running water, wind, waves and water current. Erosion results naturally from weather or runoff, but human activity such as the clearing of land for farming, logging, construction or road building can intensify the process.

ESTUARIES - The place where lake and river waters mix. They provide valuable habitat for spawning fish, nesting and migrating birds, and many rare or specialized plants. These wetlands typically have deep organic soils that have 'accumulated due to deposition of watershed-based silt loads and protection from coastal processes (waves, currents, seiche, etc.).

EUTROPHIC - Waters high in nutrient content and productivity arising either naturally or from agricultural, municipal, or industrial sources; often accompanied by undesirable changes in aquatic species composition.

EVALUATION -The application of data, analytical procedures and assessment related to criteria to establish a judgment on the relative merit of a measure, policy or institution. Evaluation is a process which can be conducted both within formal studies and by separate interests, although different data, procedures and criteria may be employed in the evaluation by different interests.

EVALUATION FRAMEWORK - A systematic accounting of the criteria considered and methodologies applied in determining the impact of measures on lake levels, stakeholders, and stakeholder interests.

EVAPOTRANSPIRATION - Evaporation from water bodies and soil and transpiration from plant surface.

EXOTIC SPECIES - Non-native species found in a given area as a direct or indirect result of human activity. FEEDBACK LOOP- Feedback loops are circular cause and effect relationships dominating some interaction of particular sets of system's key variables. Feedback loops belong generally to one of two types. "negative feedback loops" which act to maintain the value of a particular variable around a given level, and "positive feedback loops" which act to cause the value of a particular variable to increase or decrease in a self-amplifying manner; and, usually at a geometric rate.

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