Report of the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
3.1
INTRODUCTION
3.1
T
he impact of urban and urbanizing development on
Significant additional work needs to be accomplished in
Great Lakes water quality has been an issue of
the basin and, toward that end, the SAB recommends that
growing concern to the Great Lakes Science Advisory
Canada and the U.S., the parties to the Great Lakes Water
Board (SAB) since 1997.  The International Joint
Quality Agreement, undertake a major binational, investi-
Commission’s (IJC) interest in the issue dates back to the
gation and research effort related to the land-use/water
seminal 1978 study of its Pollution from Land Use Activities
quality linkage to include a binational inventory and
Reference Group or PLUARG.  That study, which definitively
assessment of innovative policies and programs to protect
linked urbanization and associated improper land-use
urban and urbanizing watersheds; and a binational study of
practices to water quality degradation, has been followed
sewage treatment infrastructure and practices in the basin.
by a substantial amount of  work to document the environ-
The intent is to encourage the IJC, the Parties, institutions
mental threats of such activity and develop best manage-
and other levels of government with a role and responsibil-
ment practices to minimize or eliminate impacts.
ity in Great Lakes management and protection to enhance
their focus on land-use practices as determinants of Great
Despite the increased focus, however, the SAB notes that
Lakes water quality.
the trend toward urbanization is accelerating and adverse
impacts on the Great Lakes basin ecosystem are increas-
ingly apparent.  The SAB’s Work Group on Parties Imple-
The International Joint Commission’s (IJC) interest
mentation examined the land-use/water quality linkage in
in the issue dates back to the seminal 1978 study
detail through policy research, literature review, case study
analyses, a workshop, and expert consultation.  Among
of its Pollution from Land Use Activities Reference
other questions, the work group documented the relevance
Group or PLUARG.  That study, which definitively
of land use to multiple articles and annexes of the Great
Lakes Water Quality Agreement; explored options for the
linked urbanization and associated improper land-
prevention and management of urban water quality
use practices to water quality degradation, has been
impacts; and examined the challenges associated with an
issue that has historically been under the jurisdiction of
followed  by  a  substantial  amount  of    work  to
local governments.
document the environmental threats of such activity
and  develop  best  management  practices  to
minimize or eliminate impacts.
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