Themes of discussion
Visioning Statement: State of the Great Lakes 2025
n its 1999-2001 Priorities Report, the SAB recommended
that the IJC support a specific initiative related to
There are many different processes that can be used to
emerging issues in order to comprehensively identify
develop a vision of the future and create a workshop
and review emerging issues as a priority activity. The
atmosphere conducive to sharing new thoughts.  The
biennial priorities approved by the Commission for 2001-
introductory session used the metaphor “Retreat of the
2003 included a provision to hold such a meeting.  The
Industrial Glacier” to capture the impact of contemporary
substantial interest of other IJC advisory groups lead to a
urban philosophy and design that is connecting the built
collaborative planning effort involving the Great Lakes Water
and natural environments in cities throughout North
Quality Board, International Air Quality Advisory Board and
America.  The abandonment of industrial waterfront sites is
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers.  These IJC
providing a unique opportunity to provide natural areas
advisory boards then formed a partnership with Environ-
and amenities, often in the very heart of the central core of
ment Canada, U.S. EPA and the Johnson Foundation to
the urban area.  These efforts are being supported by other
convene an expert consultation at Wingspread, February 5 -
related concepts, such as “green design principles” and
7, 2003.  The planning committee identified three principle
“green building construction” that taken together represent
objectives to be achieved in the consultation process:
a new development paradigm having a major positive
impact for Great Lakes cities over the next 25 years and
to conduct a scoping exercise to identify issues of
importance for the Great Lakes over the next 25 years as
part of the advisory roles of the IJC boards;
If the prospects for greater coexistence for city and nature
to facilitate binational discourse on an interdisciplinary
are to be beneficial in terms of maintaining and restoring
basis among eminent scientists and policy makers; and
the integrity of Great Lakes waters, it will be critical to
to identify specific initiatives that represent the most
include Great Lakes goals within an intergovernmental
promising future opportunities for sustaining progress
framework that encompasses the basin ecosystem in the
under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
decision-making process at all levels of government.
The format chosen for the Expert Consultation was carefully
To ensure that costly restoration efforts in urban areas are
crafted to maximize discussion and interaction. A set of six
sustainable, new investments of research in aquatic science
themes was selected to explore a range of future issues and
need to be made to provide a greater understanding of
challenges for the Great Lakes.  The presentations associated
ecosystem function. In terms of the impact of development,
with each theme were deliberately kept to a combined total
the effects of imperviousness, both in terms of habitat
of 30 minutes so that there were would be significant
fragmentation and increased runoff, merit special research
discussion time, which was managed by a professional
focus.  There is also a need for greater political awareness
that the watershed is not merely a section of shoreline with
aesthetic value, but is an extensive biodiverse environment
The Wingspread facility proved to be highly conducive for
that has fundamental requirements for maintenance and
both informal and formal discourse, and allowed partici-
pants to more easily put aside any biases from their day-to-
day environments. The participants were carefully chosen to
New Non-Chemical Stressors
provide diversity of both experience and expertise, and
included scientists and decision makers from federal
The major non-chemical stressors currently known to be
agencies, academia, industry, and consulting, as well as with
impinging on the Great Lakes basin ecosystem -- invasive
interests both within and outside the Great Lakes basin.
species, climate variability, nutrient enrichment, habitat
loss, and food web dynamics -- will continue to affect Great
It is anticipated that the full proceedings of the Expert
Lakes water quality in the future.  The relevance of these
Consultation will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in
ongoing issues underscores their intractability and the
due course.