SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
In its previous reports, the Commission has detailed the injury to human and ecosystem
health caused by persistent toxic substances. The evidence continues to grow. The
Commission acknowledges the considerable efforts and resources that have been devoted
over the past quarter-century to reduce and eliminate inputs from all sources and
pathways. In particular, the programs and measures directed at municipal and industrial
point sources are examples to be emulated worldwide; governments and industry are to be
The Commission also recognizes the opportunities created and the progress achieved
through the interest and involvement of the entire Great Lakes community -- not only
governments, but also business, agriculture, environmentalists, labour, native Americans
and First Nations, educators, researchers, the news media and many others who have given
their time and effort to make their communities better places to live in. Only with such
dedication and commitment have we been able to travel this far in our journey.
Much remains to be done, however. The Commission presents 19 specific recommendations
that will help Great Lakes society complete the journey and achieve the Agreement's
purpose. Through these recommendations, the Commission seeks from governments
specific commitments to action and the provision of data and information. Many of the
actions suggested in the recommendations should fit into existing programs such as the
Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy. The Commission requests detailed responses from
governments as part of their 1999 report of programs and progress under the Agreement.
The Commission recommends the following.
- Governments provide detailed work plans, schedules and benchmarks to complete
sediment remediation projects in the eight Areas of Concern for which remediation
decisions have been made but action is pending.
- Governments make sediment remediation and management decisions for the 31
Areas of Concern that remain under assessment, and provide detailed work plans,
schedules and benchmarks to initiate and complete sediment remediation.
- Governments accelerate development of integrated, binational programs, including
common benchmarks and schedules, to reduce and eliminate sources of specific toxic
and persistent toxic substances to the atmosphere, including sources outside the
Great Lakes basin.
- Governments develop and communicate to the public, by December 31, 2000, a
comprehensive strategy for altering established energy production and use patterns
to achieve reductions in mercury and nitrogen oxide emissions.
- Governments adopt the following agricultural and land-use goals and targets:
- to place at least 55 per cent of the Great Lakes basin row-crop acreage into
conservation tillage by 2002;
- to increase buffer-strip mileage in the Great Lakes basin by at least 30 per
cent by 2002; and
- to reduce herbicide loads to the Great Lakes by at least 30 per cent by 2005.
Areas of Concern
- Governments implement the eight recommendations presented in the Commission's
report, Beacons of Light, that deal with human health, public-private partnerships,
funding and staffing, public participation, information transfer, quantification of
environmental benefits and public advisory council funding.
- Governments review the current environmental status and programs in place to
address environmental issues in the Lake St. Clair and the St. Joseph River areas,
and report this information to the Commission, so that the Commission may direct
the Great Lakes Water Quality Board to advise on their possible designation as
Areas of Concern under the Agreement.
Science and Research
- Public and private sectors
- fund research that expands understanding about the incidence of endocrine
disruption in humans and wildlife;
- conduct programs to measure and establish the concentration of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in human tissues and fluids; and
- investigate endocrine-disrupting capability of chemical mixtures.
Communication of Scientific Information
- Governments actively participate in the work of the Communications Task Force
under the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers.
- Governments support the development and application of models to assist in the
testing, evaluation and implementation of ecosystem indicators, monitoring
strategies and management strategies for water quality, contaminants, fisheries and
other ecosystem issues.
Surveillance and Monitoring
- Governments identify surveillance and monitoring programs essential to track
contaminant loadings to and concentration trends for each of the Great Lakes;
provide assurances to the Commission and the public that these programs will be
maintained; and provide on a timely basis data and information to quantify load
reductions and ecosystem improvements.
Dioxins and Furans
- Governments adopt a three-part strategy relating to: existing commercial
operations, including manufacture, import, use and release into the environment;
present day combustion facilities; and the legacy of dioxin-like substances from past
human activities. Further, Governments adopt and report on a schedule outlining
appropriate measures to be taken.
- Governments and business apply incentive-based approaches to identify and
eliminate specific uses of mercury.
- Governments develop a detailed program, including benchmarks and schedules, for
the systematic destruction of PCBs in storage, in use and in the Great Lakes
- Governments comprehensively review all monitoring at nuclear facilities in the
Great Lakes basin with a view to making the monitoring more accommodating to the
needs of the Agreement.
- Governments monitor toxic chemicals used in large quantities at nuclear power
plants, identify radioactive forms of the toxic chemicals and analyze their impact on
the Great Lakes ecosystem.
- Governments investigate and report toxicological and ecological problems associated
with tritium, carbon-14, iodine-129, isotopes of plutonium and radium-226.
- Governments structure a transition study and develop a transition model by
December 31, 1999, for one of the chemicals presently under investigation through
the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy.
- Governments commission a study to evaluate the practical value of utilizing the
ecological economics approach.