INDICATOR IMPLEMENTATION TASK FORCE

PROGRESS REPORT
JULY 1998

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In 1992, the Parties to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) decided to use a conference format to develop material to report progress under the GLWQA. The State-of-the-Lakes Ecosystem Conferences (SOLEC) in 1994 and again in 1996 engaged governments, stakeholders and the public-at-large in discussing and debating the state of the Great Lakes basin. At SOLEC '98 the Parties will focus on Indicators as a means to assess environmental progress under the GLWQA.

In a parallel effort, the IJC, in 1993 established the Indicators for Evaluation Task Force (IETF) to develop a framework within which to evaluate Parties' progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and assist the IJC in developing advice. The IETF Final Report, submitted to the Commission in April 1996, proposed a framework for the Parties to use to provide information upon which progress in meeting the commitments of the Agreement can be assessed. The framework identified nine Desired Outcomes, in part derived from Annex 2, "Impairment of Beneficial Uses", against which to gauge progress. The Parties, through SOLEC '94 and '96, in reporting on the environmental status of the lakes, have made use of some of the recommendations in the IETF Report.

In early 1997 the Commission established the Indicators Implementation Task Force (IITF) to investigate the feasibility of using indicators to monitor Parties progress under the Agreement.

The IITF received approval from the Commission in April 1997 to conduct a "Pilot Study" incorporating an assessment of three "Desired Outcomes" and their attendant Indicators and Measurements, and to focus on lakes Erie and Superior.

The Task Force Report describes some of the complexities encountered by three IITF research assistants during the Pilot Study. Some of the findings include:

During the next phase of the investigation, the IITF proposes to:

1.0 PREFACE

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (the Agreement) (1978), and its 1987 Protocol, commit the Parties "to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem". Under the Agreement, the International Joint Commission (IJC or the Commission) is charged with monitoring the progress made by the Parties towards this commitment.

In the 1987 Protocol, the Parties agreed to use lake trout and Pontoporeia (=Diaporeia) hoyi as indicators to assess change in the ecosystem health of Lake Superior [Annex 11, (4)].

Subsequently, in 1993, the IJC established an Indicators for Evaluation Task Force (IETF) to develop a framework within which to evaluate Parties' progress under the Agreement and assist the IJC in developing advice. The IJC emphasized state-of-the-lake reporting and the consideration of integrative indicators of ecosystem integrity. The IETF reported to the IJC in April 1996 (IETF Report - Indicators to Evaluate Progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement). The IETF Report proposed a framework for the Parties to use to provide information upon which progress in meeting the commitments of the Agreement can be assessed. The framework identified nine Desired Outcomes, in part derived from Annex 2, "Impairment of Beneficial Uses", against which to gauge progress. The Parties, through SOLEC '94, '96, in reporting on the environmental status of the lakes, have made use of some of the recommendations in the IETF Report.

To assist in implementing1 this approach, the Commission established an Indicators Implementation Task Force (IITF) with membership from Agreement Boards and others (see Section 14.0), with the following terms of reference:

  1. Provide advice on the approach being developed by the Commission to obtain the required data and information to address the nine Desired Outcomes.
  2. Provide a linkage between the Desired Outcomes and the development of priorities for the next cycle and the strategic plan of the Commission.
  3. Be a vehicle for communication of the Indicator Program to the Agreement Boards.

Principally, the IITF was formed to investigate the feasibility of using indicators to monitor the Parties progress under the Agreement.

2.0 INTRODUCTION

The IETF Report (1996) proposed "nine desired, positive outcomes to which the public and decision-makers can relate and strive to achieve."

The nine Desired Outcomes were:

Desired Outcomes can be described by selected, applicable indicators and measurements. In this report the following definition is used for Indicator:

"An indicator provides a clue to a matter of larger significance or makes perceptible a trend or phenomenon that is not immediately detectable. An indicator is a sign or symptom that makes something known with a reasonable degree of certainty. An indicator reveals, gives evidence, and its significance extends beyond what is actually measured to a larger phenomenon of interest."

The U.S. Intergovernmental Task Force on Monitoring Water Quality (ITFM) defined an environmental indicators as a:

"measurable feature which singly or in combination provides managerially and scientifically useful evidence of environmental and ecosystem quality, or reliable evidence of trends in quality."
This definition is particularly useful when the "measurable feature" is associated with an explicit goal or desired outcome. Environmental indicators encompass a broad suite of measures, including tools for assessment of chemical, physical and biological conditions and processes at several scales.

The word "indicator" has been generally missing in ecological literature until only very recently. Harris and Scheberle (1995) reviewed 12 recent college ecology text books and found only one that presented a broad discussion of the term as it is being used today. Other sciences, including the social sciences, have more commonly used indicator concepts and terminology.

The IETF Report also proposed a Framework to Evaluate Agreement Progress (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Framework to Evaluate Agreement Progress

3.0 SCOPE OF PILOT STUDY

During 1997, the IITF conducted a "Pilot Study" incorporating an assessment of four "Desired Outcomes" (Table 1) and their attendant Indicators and Measurements, focussing on only lakes Erie and Superior because of constraints of time and limited resources.

The Desired Outcomes, Indicators and Measurements in Table 1 reflect objectives associated not only with Annexes 2 and 11, but those for Annexes outlined by the IETF Report (1996). (Table 2).

The Pilot Study on lakes Superior and Erie involved agencies of the two Parties, plus the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and the Province of Ontario.

Table 1: Pilot Study Desired Outcomes, Indicators and Measurements

Desired Outcome Indicators and Measurements
Fishability
  • Fish Consumption Advisories
  • Virtual Elimination of Inputs of Persistent Toxic Substances2
  • Quantities of PTS Produced, Used and Disposed Of
  • Total Loadings of PTS to the Great Lakes System
  • Programs and Measures Undertaken to Reduce and Eliminate the Use of Specific PTS and Results of Those Programs
  • Concentrations of PTS in Nonbiological Ecosystem Compartments
  • Concentrations of PTS in Top Predator Fish and Fish-Eating Birds
  • Biochemical Measurements
  • Measurable Changes in the Developmental, Behavioural or Reproductive Success or Survival of a Species
  • Biological Community Integrity and Diversity
  • Presence and Abundance of Key Species Within the Food Web
  • Quantity and Quality of Particular Habitat Types
  • Number and Abundance of Endangered Native Species
  • Cumulative Number and Abundance of Exotic Species Introduced
  • Fish Harvest Statistics vs. Spawning Biomass Levels
  • Toxic Contaminant Levels in Selected Fish Species and in Selected Fish-Eating Birds
  • Ambient Phosphorus Concentrations
  • Swimmability
  • Beach Closings, Measured in Median Number of Consecutive Days Closed for a Given Year
  • Measurements : Coliform Counts, Turbidity, Phosphorus Concentrations, Aesthetics, Beach Characteristics
  • Table 2: Selected Targets, Programs and Measures in the Agreement

    • Achievement of General and Specific Objectives
    • Effective standards and other regulatory requirements to achieve them
    • Research on identified needs and other priorities
    • Mechanisms for international organization
    • Control of pollution sources including:
      • Municipal sources (pretreatment, sanitary, storm and combined sewer overflows)
      • Industrial sources (waste treatment and control, substantial elimination of persistent toxics, nutrient, thermal and nuclear inputs)
      • Nonpoint sources (pesticides, animals, land-use planning)
      • Shipping activity (spill prevention, surveillance, contingency plans)
    • Airborne source identification
    • Additional programs given specifically in the annexes, notably:
      • Remedial Action Plans, Lakewide Management Plans, and Point Source Impact Zones
      • Virtual elimination and zero discharge of persistent toxic substances
      • Dredging
      • Groundwater
      • Wetlands

    4.0 METHODOLOGY

    4.1 The Criteria

    The IITF identified 17 criteria for the assessment of data and data support of Indicators and Desired Outcomes. The criteria derived from the "Criteria for Scientific Completeness" identified by the Indicators for Evaluation Task Force (IETF, 1996, p.11). The assessment covers three levels in the framework illustrated in Figure 1. These levels are primary data (measurements), analyzed data and indicators. Within this framework, the criteria are meant to:

    The criteria are multi-functional (Table 3). Criteria questions are guides for gathering information about individual datasets. The criteria are also instrumental in comparing the relative merits and suitability of datasets for supporting an Indicator. Finally, the criteria can be used to form a picture of how adequately each Indicator or Desired Outcome is supported by data, and to reveal which Indicators support more than one Desired Outcome.

    In acknowledgement of this multi-functionality, the seventeen criteria were categorized during Phase One to clarify their application to the Pilot Study at each of the three levels : primary data, analyzed data and Indicators. The five criteria categories were: temporal coverage, geographic coverage, acquisition, scientific and utility questions.

    4.2 The Matrix

    A matrix was constructed to describe minimally each data set:

    The basis of the matrix was a survey (Leger and Greenwood/SOLEC, 1996) to identify nearshore databases and information holdings for the Great Lakes in Canada and the United States. The original SOLEC '96 matrix was augmented by datasets suggested by the IITF.

    Table 3: Revised Criteria

    I. BASIC QUESTIONS

    Name of Database
    Responsible Agency
    Indicator(s) and Desired Outcome(s) of Relevance
    Contact Name and Number

    Temporal Coverage
    Over what time are data collected?
    At what frequency are measurements made?
    Is monitoring projected to continue?
    Can historical trends in the data be tracked?

    Geographic Coverage
    Over what area are data collected?
    Are data collected for Lake Erie and Lake Superior?
    Where are the specific sites of data collection?
    Which jurisdiction and/or agency is collecting the data?

    Acquisition
    What are the costs associated with acquiring the data?
    What are the estimated costs of making data compatible, if they are not?
    Are the data in electronic form?
    Is the data format suitable for GIS application?
    If data are already in GIS format, what software is used?
    Where are the data located?
    Are the data available without restrictions on their use?

    If applicable, are the critical eleven toxins covered?

    II. SECOND ROUND QUESTIONS

    Scientific Criteria
    Are the data scientifically valid?
    Can reference or target values be identified or established?
    What is the quality of the data; can confidence be placed in them?
    Are data measurements sensitive, ie without an all or none response or extreme natural variability?
    Are the data measurements integrative, ie possessing the capacity to combine diverse information?

    Utility Criteria
    Are measurements taken and data processed quickly enough to initiate effective action?
    Can the data provide an early warning, an indication of change before serious harm has occurred?
    Are data applicable to more than one Indicator or Desired Outcome?
    How easily can data be adapted to this exercise when they were originally collected for other purposes?
    Are data adequate to assess progress?

    INDICATOR QUESTIONS

    Is the Indicator sensitive, ie without an all or none response or extreme natural variability?
    Is the Indicator integrative, ie possessing the capacity to combine diverse data and information?
    Is the Indicator timely, ie providing data and information quickly enough to initiate effective action?
    Is the Indicator anticipatory, ie capable of providing an early warning, an indication of change before serious harm has occurred?

    4.3 Indicators Harmonization

    Efforts to develop and implement environmental indicators are ongoing priorities for several agencies in the United States, in Canada and internationally. Four efforts are described below. Indicators are in some cases quite similar to those examined during the Pilot Study and supportive. The experiences in developing indicators are also similar, in terms of dealing with diversity in data formats and identifying suitable sources of data.

    The 1996 IETF Report identified many indicator initiatives. It is not the intention of the current report to reproduce this listing, but rather from a few selected initiatives to provide additional information relevant to the Pilot Study experience.

    4.3.1 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

    The OECD released its core set of environmental indicators in 1994. The indicators are grouped into "Issues", comparable to the Desired Outcomes of the Pilot Study. Some of the Issues and Indicators relevant to the Pilot Study are in Table 4.

    Table 4: OECD Indicators

    Issue Indicator(s)
    Eutrophication River Quality: Biochemical Pollution
    Toxic Contamination Consumption of Pesticides
    River Quality: Toxic Metals
    Biodiversity and Landscapes Threatened Species
    Waste Hazardous Waste
    Natural Resources Fish Catches

    The OECD core indicators were developed to use in environmental performance reviews of member countries. The OECD recognized that "There is no single method of standardisation for the comparison of environmental variables across countriesGenerally, inter-country comparisons should be subject to great caution." (OECD, 1994, p.13).

    The report deals only with indicators identified as being immediately measurable, using currently available data. Other indicators have been classified as medium term : "basic data partially available, but calling for a supplementary effort to improve their quality and their geographic coverage" (ibid., p.15) and "long term, basic data not available for a majority of OECD countries, calling for a sustained data collection and conceptual efforts" (ibid., p.15).

    In the OECD publication, the indicators are defined and trend graphs presented for OECD countries, including Canada and the United States. A Technical Annex includes data sources.

    4.3.2 United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water

    The Office of Water released the report "Environmental Indicators of Water Quality in the United States" in 1996. Indicators are classed in five Objectives (again, similar to the Desired Outcomes). Table 5 presents four Objectives and Indicators relevant to the IITF work. Data presented in the report were collected from the EPA and other federal, state and tribal groups. Each indicator is defined, with data sources identified and the data presented graphically. Another feature of the report is that each indicator receives an assessment of data completeness:

    Table 5: U.S. EPA Indicators

    Objective Indicator(s)
    Conserve and Enhance Public Health
  • Fish Consumption Advisories
  • Conserve and Enhance Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Biological Integrity
  • Species at Risk
  • Wetland Acreage
  • Conserve and Improve Ambient Conditions
  • Surface Water Pollutants
  • Contaminated Sediments
  • Reduce or Prevent Pollutant Loadings and Other Stressors
  • Selected Point Source Loadings
  • Nonpoint Source Loadings to Surface Water
  • 4.3.3 Environment Canada

    In 1991, a State of the Environment Report released by the Environment Canada Indicators Task Force defined a preliminary list of national environmental indicators. The report included descriptions and showed trends for each indicator. Data sources were almost exclusively Canadian federal departments, chiefly sections and branches within Environment Canada. Several of the proposed indicators coincide with the Indicators examined during the Pilot Study. They are:

    4.3.4 Health Canada

    The Health Canada Great Lakes Health Effects Program is developing five human health indicators as part of a federal government commitment to the Canada-Ontario Agreement and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The Program is guided by the Great Lakes 2000 target of achieving for the general population "a 30% reduction in human health risks associated with exposure to environmental contaminants."

    The indicators were developed in 1992 at a meeting of a Canada-US Ecosystem Objective Working Group. The indicators are:

    A sixth indicator, contaminants in human breast milk, may be added.

    The first three "indicators" are not indicators but rather general "areas-of-interest" or states one ascribes to water and air. However, there is some relevance to the IITF Desired Outcomes and Indicators in recreational water quality (Swimmability), drinking water quality (Drinkability) and contaminant levels in sportsfish (Fishability, PTS, Biological Community). The sportsfish indicator presented difficulties due to gaps in the basinwide data, and the use of different analytical techniques by various jurisdictions.

    As of December 1997, the development of draft indicators was complete or nearing completion. Through 1998, the work plan included continuing data analysis for recreational water quality and continuing data collection and analysis for drinking water quality. The main source of information for drinking water quality is the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy (OMOEE). Generally, the indicators represent only Canadian data, except in cases where Health Canada is co-operating with LaMPS on Beneficial Use Impairment Assessments (for example see the 'Swimmability' section in the current report).

    5.0 RESULTS

    5.1 General Results

    Canada and the United States were unevenly represented by datasets in the original matrix (Leger and Greenwood, 1996). The matrix identified more Canadian than American datasets. Also, the American entries were more likely to be large national resources (for example STORET) while the Canadian datasets included smaller, more manageable databases and programs. The multiplicity of jurisdictions on the American side contributed to the confusion experienced in identifying datasets and contacts. More time was spent by the US researcher in locating and collecting data, both when compared with the Canadian researchers and in terms of the portion of the Study time. Therefore, analysis of the datasets was more advanced on the Canadian side when Pilot Study investigations concluded. For both sides, matrix entries were occasionally outdated or invalid.

    The datasets examined were diverse in format. Some were only raw data or data summaries, whereas other datasets were program descriptions, reports or academic studies. Some datasets could be examined through web searches and library visits, while others required telephone and e-mail correspondence with the contact personnel included in the matrix. Databases for Environmental Analysis was a significant resource for the Canadian researcher. For both researchers, work on investigation of "Swimmability" was greatly assisted by work done for the Lake Erie LaMP.

    Generally, each of the research techniques worked well. Most contacts were responsive and glad to discuss work. There was the occasional difficulty in reaching a contact, not having calls or e-mails returned, or encountering individuals reluctant to provide information. In a few cases, individuals suggested that a more formal request for information from the IITF or IJC would be required. More frequently, however, contacts not only provided assistance, but also suggested other individuals for the Pilot Study researchers to contact.

    5.2 Desired Outcome: Fishability

    5.2.1 Indicator: Fish Consumption Advisories

    This Indicator includes only sport fish consumption advisories. Advisories are placed on different fish species and sizes when concentrations of selected chemical substances exceed identified guidelines for specified consumer groups. Fish consumption advisories are issued by each state and province bordering the Great Lakes. Currently, these advisories are summarized in a single source, the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Listing of Fish and Wildlife Advisories. The most recent issue of this listing (1996 data) includes Canadian fish consumption advisories. However, combination of data submitted by various jurisdictions into anything but a general summary is difficult due to differences in sampling and testing procedures, sampling frequencies, health guidelines for tested substances and reporting styles.

    Fishability Summary

    Fishability appears to be the most easily characterized Desired Outcome, and for this reason was chosen by the IITF for initial investigation. There is only one Indicator, Fish Consumption Advisories, and these advisories are issued by each Great Lakes state and province. Still, many decisions remain before the advisories may be translated into an Indicator. For example :

    This Desired Outcome will be revisited by US researcher during the next phase of the Pilot Study.

    Further support could be gained for this Indicator through collaboration with the Health Canada Great Lakes Health Effects Program, where the indicator Contaminant Levels in Sportsfish is one of five being developed. The US-EPA has also proposed an indicator Fish Consumption Advisories.

    In conclusion, this Indicator could probably be developed within the constraints of different sampling, testing and reporting styles. The resulting Indicator would not be as robust as one based on a common approach to advisories adopted throughout the Great Lakes basin. It is recommended that current discussions around standardizing these procedures be monitored and encouraged, and co-operation with the Health Canada and US-EPA indicators efforts be initiated.

    6.0 DESIRED OUTCOME: SWIMMABILITY

    6.1 (Proposed) Indicator: Beach Closings, Measured in Median Number of Consecutive Days Closed for a Given Year

    Beach closings are identified as a beneficial use impairment in Annex 2 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The International Joint Commission has stated that a beach closing impairment occurs "when waters, which are commonly used for total body contact or partial body contact recreation, exceed standards, objectives or guidelines for such use" (IJC, 1989).

    The 1996 IETF report proposed the following suite of measurements: coliform counts, turbidity, phosphorus concentrations, aesthetics and other beach characteristics to support for this Indicator. While beaches may be posted for any of these reasons, frequently it is an exceedance of bacteriological recreational water quality guidelines that is involved. The following discussion focuses on this additional measurement. No data were readily available for the other measurements.

    6.1.1 Canada

    In Canada, Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the indicator organism for recreational water quality. In 1992, Ontario changed from using counts of fecal coliforms to using E. coli.

    Canadian Great Lakes waters used for recreation include beach areas administered by a range of jurisdictions: national parks, provincial parks, other provincial beaches, conservation authorities, municipalities, Indian Reserves, Crown Lands and privately owned beaches.

    In a 1997 report for the Lake Erie LaMP, "bacterial levels exceedances above jurisdictional guidelines represent a use impairment, regardless of whether the recreationally used waters are part of a public or private beach, monitored or not monitored swimming area, or open water" (BUIA Report, 1997, p.4). However, in Ontario, most of the data on bacterial levels originate in the individual Health Units of the provincial Ministry of Health. The data available from the Health Units focus on public beaches, and do not include any of the other categories. The federal Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality (1992) stipulate that the geometric mean of at least five water samples, taken over a period equal to or less than 30 days should show fewer than 200 E. coli per 100 mL or 35 enterococci per 100 mL, to avoid exceedance.

    Provincial Protocols and Guidelines

    The Ontario guideline is 100 E. coli per 100 mL of water. Results are based on the geometric mean of five individual water samples. The provincial sampling protocol is flexible in terms of the time period over which the five samples are taken (Ontario Ministry of Health, 1992).

    GLHEP Indicator

    Health Canada's Great Lakes Health Effects Program (GLHEP) is currently developing five "health-related indicators to measure trends in contaminant levels on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes basin". The GLHEP work includes an indicator of recreational water quality, for which the health concern is microbiological contamination. The GLHEP was the main source of information for recreational water quality monitoring in Lake Erie and Lake Superior.

    Lake Erie

    In 1997, the Beneficial Use Impairment Subcommittee Recreational Water Quality Team prepared a Beneficial Use Impairment Assessment (BUIA) on Recreational Water Quality Impairments (Bacterial Levels and Beach Postings) for the Lake Erie LaMP. The binational Team includes two representatives from Health Canada.

    The LaMP report found that virtually every Ontario Lake Erie beach in every jurisdiction exceeded the guidelines at least once between 1992 and 1996 (over 100 E. coli per 100mL) during the study period.

    Lake Superior

    Data came from the two Public Health Units along the Canadian shore, at Thunder Bay and Algoma.

    Only the six beaches in Thunder Bay showed exceedances during 1992-95.

    Swimmability Issues: Canada

    The most important question for the Desired Outcome "Swimmability" is whether beach closings or bacteriological guideline exceedances are more appropriate as an Indicator.

    6.1.2 United States

    Introduction

    In the United States, the major pollution events responsible for beach closures and advisories are:

    Beaches are monitored by local agencies. Fiscal cutbacks mean that some Great Lakes beaches are not tested or are tested sporadically. Beach closure decisions are also affected by the slow turnaround times for test results. The USEPA has recently developed new lab tests to provide accurate results in approximately half the time previously required. Still, after a storm-event, agencies may base their decisions on professional judgment or historical precedent.

    Beach monitoring documentation is issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the National Resources Defense Council and state sources. In 1986, the USEPA recommended replacing fecal coliform bacteria with E. coli and enterococci as the indicator organisms in ambient water quality criteria (EPA method 1600, Enterococci). Use of E. coli and enterococci as indicators means that test results better reflect the presence of the harmful pathogens which affect swimmers and others in contact with contaminated waters. The limitations of both E. coli and fecal coliform tests are that they do not differentiate between human and animal wastes and do not measure viruses, protozoan (e.g. cryptosporidium) spores or non-fecal contamination.

    According to statistics from the USEPA, many jurisdictions use both the 1986 indicator criteria and fecal coliform measurements; some use total coliform counts. Though a state may have the authority to use the 1986 indicators, it may choose to use other biological indicators at their discretion. As well, agency budget-cuts have adversely affected implementation of these new testing protocols. A listing of the six states studied and the indicator organisms used by each appears below. Four of the six states continue to use measurements of fecal or total coliform counts in assessing ambient bacteriological water quality.

    Lake Erie Lake Superior
    New York - Fecal coliform
    Pennsylvania - Fecal coliform
    Ohio - E. coli
    Michigan - E. coli
    Minnestoa - Fecal coliform
    Wisconsin - Fecal coliform

    Only seven States in the USA monitor all their beaches and, of those, only two are in the Great Lakes basin, Ohio and New York. Ohio monitors its Great Lakes beaches regularly for swimming safety; however, New York does not have a regular monitoring program.

    In 1997, "The Resolution for Great Lakes Beach Closures: Water Quality Monitoring and Advisories" was passed by the Great Lakes Commission. The Resolution encourages member states "to work with their local jurisdictions to review Great Lakes beach water quality monitoring and analysis activities with the objective of ensuring more consistency in methods among these intrastate jurisdictions as well as between adjoining states".

    Also, in 1997, the International Great Lakes St. Lawrence Mayors' Conference resolved that collaboration amongst experts continue by developing uniform standards and encouraging consistent monitoring on Great Lakes beaches.

    Evaluation of Measurements

    Coliform Counts: The USEPA has suggested that E. coli or enterococci be the representative bacteria organism to be tested instead of fecal coliforms as indicators of contamination. Among the counties contacted, each used their own testing procedures for various bacteria and did not necessarily follow the EPA suggestion. Individual state regulations are the guidelines followed for beach closures.

    Turbidity: No state surveyed had ever closed a beach nor had any records of this being an issue (but turbidity results from storm-events which have closed beaches).

    Phosphorus Concentrations: phosphorus is generally monitored; however due to economic constraints at the county level, no one tests for or closes a beach due to elevated phosphorus levels (but beaches are closed because of excessive algal or plant growth, related to excessive nutrients).

    Aesthetics: The Woodlawn Beach in New York is an urban beach in an industrial setting and aesthetics were anticipated as a problem. No other beach reports commented on this measurement.

    Beach Characteristics: features such as substrate, undertows and other hazards may cause a jurisdiction to close an area to swimming.

    Swimmability Issues: United States

    Several problems associated with data collection were experienced:

    Overall, beaches on Lakes Superior and Erie more frequently were closed due to:

    Agencies used personal and professional judgement more frequently than bacterial tests to close beaches or issue advisories, because bacterial lab tests needed at least 48 hours.

    7.0 DESIRED OUTCOME: VIRTUAL ELIMINATION OF INPUTS OF PERSISTENT TOXIC SUBSTANCES (PTS) TO THE GREAT LAKES SYSTEM

    7.1 Measurement A: Quantities of PTS Produced, Used and Disposed

    This study focussed on the critical 11 persistent toxic substances, some of which are use-restricted or banned. However, releases of contaminants continue to occur during spills, fires and leakages to both surface and groundwater. As well both water and sediment remain as significant sources and sinks of the substances. Some of the critical eleven substances have natural sources (mercury) and/or are produced as byproducts of various processing, manufacturing and incineration.

    Annex 12 of the GLWQA addresses persistent toxic substance trends in production, import, use and monitoring issues.

    Canada

    Environment Canada
    National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)

    Facilities which use or produce any of 178 listed substances (including byproducts) over a certain quantity must be reported by law. For the critical 11 substances, total PCB, 2,3,7,8-TCDD, 2,3,7,8-TCDF, mercury, alkyl lead, benzo(a)pyrene and hexachlorobenzene are included. Reports specify releases to air, water and land and also include latitude and longitude.

    United States

    Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)

    The TRI is free information, accessible via the Internet and the EPA website. The TRI lists companies and toxic releases reported up to 1995. The reporting began in 1988, and is ongoing.

    This database has extensive sorting features for retrieval by city, company, toxin and many other fields, but is not capable of sorting for the Great Lakes specifically. Other significant shortcomings of the TRI are cited in IJC "Source Investigation for Lake Superior", a report to the Virtual Elimination Task Force, December 1993, pp. 31-32 (Dolan et al, 1993).

    Additional Sources

    The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (OMOE) database "Survey of Pesticide Use in Ontario" and Environment Canada's "Restricted Information System for Chemicals Ontario Region PCB Inventory" are potential sources for Canadian data from the Statistics Canada / CCME compilation "Databases for Environmental Analysis." In conclusion, while inventories of materials produced, used and disposed may be available, defining and assessing their impact on the Great Lakes ecosystem is problematic. Combining this Measurement with that for total loadings should be considered.

    7.2 Measurement B: Total Loadings of PTS to the Great Lakes System

    Loadings of PTS to the Great Lakes occur through:

    Air emissions are the most significant sources of toxic contaminants in the Great Lakes (Dolan et al, 1993; De Vault, Whittle and Rang, 1994). In terms of banned or restricted toxic substances, atmospheric deposition occurs as contaminants are transported from countries where their use is still permitted. This factor, combined with "recycling" within the ecosystem, makes quantifying total loadings a difficult undertaking.

    Canada

    Environment Canada
    National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)

    The NPRI was a significant source of information for this Measurement.

    Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy
    Spills Action Centre

    Since 1988, the Spills Action Centre has published an annual summary of spills to land, water and air in Ontario. The 1995 summary is available on the Ministry website. Spills are also recorded on the Occurrence Report Information System database. Spills are classified by material, volume, location, sector and cause. Spills to the Great Lakes and spills cleanups are separately described. Trends in spills since the program was initiated in 1985 are extensively documented.

    Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy
    Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement (MISA
    )

    Started in 1986, this program, identifies targets for discharges from industries in nine sectors, and from municipal wastewater treatment plants. Two databases in MISA summarize data for conventional wastewater and for industrial effluents (IMIS); the latter database is closed to public queries.

    Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy
    Great Lakes Toxics Deposition Database

    This database contains data from "air and precipitation samples collected regularly at fixed monitoring sites to quantify atmospheric loadings of target PCBs, PAHs, organochlorines, pesticides and metals into the Canadian Great Lakes" (Statistics Canada / CCME 1994). Time coverage is from 1981 to the present and data access is unrestricted.

    Binational

    Integrated Atmospheric Deposition Network

    The Network is a joint effort of Environment Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to integrate data on sources of air emissions and patterns of deposition.

    Great Lakes Regional Air Toxics Emissions Inventory

    The Inventory is a collaboration amongst the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy, the eight Great Lakes states and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to identify emissions sources, both within and external to the Great Lakes Basin, which contribute to atmospheric deposition of contaminants.

    United States

    Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)

    The TRI was an important source of information for this Measurement. Its shortcomings are tabulated in Section 7.1.

    STORET

    STORET is an extensive database of raw data from many agencies and organizations in the United States. It is cumbersome, difficult to access and not user friendly. However, user support is available and quite helpful. Data quality is unknown. Some data are "locked" by agreement with its owner/contributor. Existing STORET water quality data will be moved into a new, modern relational database in 1998, a change which should improve its utility.

    In conclusion, if this Measurement focussed only on industrial emissions/discharges to wastewater and atmospheric deposition, then the NPRI and the TRI would provide the needed basic data.

    7.3 Measurement C: Programs and Measures Undertaken to Reduce and Eliminate the use of Specific PTS and Results of the Programs

    There are many programs that could apply to this Measurement.

    This Indicator was perceived as being problematic by Pilot Study researchers. "Programs and Measures to Ameliorate Stress" fall outside of the "triangle" of primary data, analyzed data and Indicators in the framework adopted (refer to Figure 1).

    Canada

    Governments of Canada and Ontario
    Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

    In 1997, the Governments of Canada and Ontario released the Second Report of Progress Under the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA). The report "summarizes the progress that has been made by federal and provincial government agencies and their partners in meeting COA targets." The COA report lists the accomplishments of programs in preventing and controlling pollution, e.g. the ARET program, the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, the Lake Superior Binational program and Lakewide Management Plans. The COA report also describes Agreement objectives that deal with PCB, hazardous waste and spill reductions, pesticides and the atmospheric deposition of toxic chemicals.

    United States

    The EPA database was an important source of information for this Measurement.

    Additional sources of data are under investigation.

    In conclusion, this Measurement is only an inventory of programs; the results of these programs are most often measured by other Indicators.

    7.4 Measurement D: Concentrations of PTS in Nonbiological Ecosystem Compartments (Water and Sediment)

    Canada

    Environment Canada
    Great Lakes Water Quality STAR Database
    Great Lakes Surveillance Program

    The STAR database includes data for PTS collected through a range of experiments conducted during cruises. Cruise years vary for each lake (for example Lake Erie : 1986, 1994, 1995). Data are available from 1968, although testing for organics did not start until 1986.

    Environment Canada
    Great Lakes Sediment Database

    Regional and nearshore lake sediment data were collected between 1968 and 1978. Over 3000 samples from the nearshore zone, including the Canadian shoreline of Lake Erie, were collected on a 1-2 km grid, tested and archived. Over 1,000 regional samples from all five Great Lakes were collected on a 2-20 km grid. Chemical tests included mercury, lead, DDT and DDT residues, PCB and dieldrin.

    Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy
    Great Lakes Water Quality

    The database contains information on Great Lakes nearshore waters, sediment and biota (especially Areas of Concern). Database entries date from 1972; earlier records are archived on tape. The Ministry is in the process of compiling both of these into the Environmental Data Store. Sampling currently follows a cycle of three or six years. Tests include organics, inorganics, nutrients and physical properties of air, water, sediment data and biotic properties. Many of the critical 11 PTS are not routinely tested.

    Additional Sources

    Environment Canada National Water Research Institute
    Benthic Assessment of Sediment (BEAST)

    BEAST provides a methodology to assess sediment contamination using three components : chemical concentrations, functional bio-assessment and structural bio-assessment. Of interest to the Pilot Study is the reference database for the Great Lakes. There were 200 reference sites identified during the 1991-1993 study period, which provide "comparative environmental and community structure data for uncontaminated or 'clean' sites" (BEAST website).

    Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy
    In-Place Pollutants Program

    The Program's objectives were "to determine the extent of contaminated sediment problems in the province and to assess the potential impacts of contaminants in sediment on overlying water quality and on the aquatic biota" (OMOE Watershed Management Section, 1992, p.1). Geographic (20 locations around the Great Lakes) and temporal (1983-87) coverage are constrained.

    United States

    Three entries were placed on the matrix under this Measurement ("Great Lakes Harbor and Lake Sediment Quality Database", "Great Lakes Water Quality" and "Great Lakes Water Quality Survey for Organic Contaminants"), all of which could not be located. Instead, three other EPA documents were located and added; "National Water Quality Inventory and Appendixes - 1994 Report to Congress", "The Quality of Our Nations Water, 1994" and "Deposition of Air Pollutants to the Great Lakes." Each is a large document with general information about the state of the U.S., with relatively small amounts of data on the Great Lakes basin and even a smaller amount of information on the Measurement. Two other potential databases were: US-EPA: Surface Water Pollutants and Contaminated Sediments and Environment Canada: Maximum Observed Concentrations of Pesticides in Water.

    The Canadian data for both water and sediment should be sufficient to apply this Measurement while U.S. sources need further investigation.

    7.5 Measurement E: Concentration of PTS in Top Predator Fish and Fish-eating Birds

    Walleye is the top predator in Lake Erie and lake trout for Lake Superior. Fish-eating birds include herring gulls, bald eagles, ospreys, double-crested cormorants, Caspian terns and common terns.

    Canada

    Department of Fisheries and Oceans
    Great Lakes Contaminants Surveillance Program

    Since 1977, annual samples of top predator fish and forage species have been taken from three Lake Erie sites and four Lake Superior sites. This program is assembling a "long term database through annual monitoring of contaminant levels in Great Lakes aquatic biota[and an] early warning system for the detection of emerging contaminant issues in the Great Lakes aquatic community" (Kiriluk et al, 1996, p.1).

    Department of Fisheries and Oceans
    Contaminants in Fish

    Since 1970, pesticide and heavy metal concentrations have been measured in commercial fish species caught in the Great Lakes. Data include species, fish weight and length, date and location of sampling, and contaminant levels (including mercury, PCB, dieldrin, DDE and mirex).

    Environment Canada Canadian Wildlife Service
    Wildlife Toxicology Database

    The database contains "toxicology data for 3000 samples from 11 tissues from 16 species of wildlife collected from 157 sites in the Great Lakes Basin 1970-1994" (Canadian Wildlife Service website). Data may not cover all critical eleven substances, but provide baseline and trend information. Tested substances include metals, organochlorine compounds, dioxin, furan and PCB congeners.

    Environment Canada Canadian Wildlife Service
    An Atlas of Contaminants in Eggs of Fish-Eating Colonial Birds of the Great Lakes

    Two published atlases (1970-88 and 1989-92) summarize data on chlorinated hydrocarbons and lipid concentrations in eggs of colonial waterbirds. Species sampled include herring gulls, four tern species and double-crested cormorants. The atlases detail locations of colonies and sample sizes. Compounds analyzed, from the critical eleven, are hexachlorobenzene, DDT, dieldrin, 2,3,7,8-TCDD, 2,3,7,8-TCDF, lead, total mercury, mirex and some PCB congeners. Four colonies in Lake Erie and 14 colonies around Lake Superior were studied.

    Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy
    Sport Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program and FISHBASE

    (See Desired Outcome: Fishability.)

    United States

    De Vault, D., R. Hesselberg, P.W. Rodgers and T.J. Feist (1996) Contaminant trends in Lake Trout and Walleye from the Laurentian Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 22:4, p.884-895. This paper reports on a study between 1972 and 1992. Contaminants monitored included PCBs and DDT.

    Michigan Fish Consumption Advisories

    (See Desired Outcome: Fishability.)

    Minnesota Fish Consumption Advisories

    (See Desired Outcome: Fishability.)

    State of New York. Department of Health. Center for Environmental Health (1994) Health Advisories : Chemicals in Sportfish and Game. This publication lists species contaminated, and the specific contaminants for which advisories have been issued, from 1993-1994.

    Ohio Fish Consumption Advisories

    (See Desired Outcome: Fishability.)

    Additional Sources

    For Canada, the National Contaminants Information System (under development) is a potential source of information. For the United States, further investigation is necessary.

    Two indicators are relevant from the Environment Canada indicators work:

    The Health Canada indicator 'Contaminant Levels in Sportsfish' may also be useful.

    Conclusions

    In conclusion, implementation of this Measurement would be greatly facilitated by agreement on the species of fish and fish-eating birds to be sampled. Lake trout, walleye and herring gulls have been suggested; however, standard sampling and analytical protocols are needed.

    7.6 Measurement F: Biochemical Measures of Changes in Cellular or Sub-cellular Processes within Organs or Tissues of an Organism.

    Some examples of biochemical measure are Vitamin A storage, thyroid hyperplasia, porphyrin levels, endocrine function, immune function, genotoxicity" (Indicators for Evaluation Task Force, 1996, p. 35).

    Canada

    Several current research activities within the Canadian Wildlife Service could partially support both this Measurement and Measurement G (see below). The research projects include assessment of:

    Canadian Wildlife Service
    Wildlife Toxicology Bibliographic Database

    The database references "scientific papers about the effects of pesticides and other contaminants on wildlife" (Statistics Canada / CCME, 1994). Entries date from the 1930s, and the database is kept current.

    United States

    The investigation of this Measurement is continuing.

    7.7 Measurement G: Measurable Changes (or Biological End-Points) in the Development, Behaviour or Reproductive Success or Survival of Species

    This Measurement covers a wide range of data, both in terms of the studied parameters and the selection of species for investigation. The possibility exists to narrow this Indicator to include a small number of species or behaviours, or to use a broader investigation to combine data, perhaps into a numerical index. In the Pilot Study matrix, the datasets listed for this Indicator include a single journal issue identified as a starting point for assessing data availability. The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health (Vol.33, 1991) presents studies of lake trout, bald eagles, colonial fish-eating birds, snapping turtles, mink and otter, and human fish consumers. The other matrix entry, a conference paper (Johnson et al, 1997), provides a graphical summary of health effects of persistent toxic substances observed in different Great Lakes Basin species.

    Binational

    Johnson, B.L., H.E. Hicks, D.E. Jones, W. Cibulas and C.T. De Rosa (1997) Public Health Implications of Persistent Toxic Substances in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basins. Unpublished paper presented at the Great Lakes Health Effects Conference, May, 1997. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    While this paper concentrates on human health implications, it includes a section on findings in wildlife populations. A summary table identifies health effects observed in selected Great Lakes species, listed by species and category of effects. This summary could be useful in identifying sources of primary and analyzed data for this Measurement.

    Canada

    Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health volume 33 (1991)

    All of the matrix entries for this Measurement appear in this journal issue. Included are articles on lake trout, bald eagles, snapping turtles and mink and otter. This issue is an excellent reference, but there are significant gaps in temporal and geographic coverage.

    United States

    Further investigations are needed to uncover U.S. information.

    Additional Sources

    The Journal of Great Lakes Research volume 22 #2, 1996 and the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health volume 19, #4, 1986 may help identify current and past research efforts.

    Conclusions and Recommendations: Measurements F and G

    Todate, all of the data sources are research-based findings, so that collecting, analyzing and massaging these data to fit Measurements F and G will be difficult.

    8.0 DESIRED OUTCOME: BIOLOGICAL COMMUNITY INTEGRITY AND DIVERSITY

    This Desired Outcome is defined as: "Maintenance of the ability of biological communities to function normally in the absence of severe environmental stress (ecosystem health) and to cope with changes in environmental conditions which impose stress, i.e. to be able to maintain their processes of self-organization on an ongoing basis (ecosystem integrity). Maintenance of the diversity of biological communities, species and genetic variation within species" (IETF, 1996, p.32).

    Many of the seven Measurements included in this Desired Outcome represent complex areas of study. An important general observation is that defining each Indicator specifically would greatly facilitate dataset identification and selection.

    Matrix Entries and Dataset Sources

    This Desired Outcome has been given only a cursory investigation.

    Canada

    On the Canadian side of the matrix, the Measurements best represented by datasets are selection and abundance of key species within the food web, quantity and quality of particular habitat types and toxic contaminant levels in selected fish species and selected fish-eating birds. The remaining four Measurements were represented by a maximum of one dataset each.

    United States

    The Measurements best represented in the matrix are quantity and quality of particular habitat types, Fish harvest statistics vs. spawning biomass levels and toxic contaminant levels in selected fish species and selected fish-eating birds. Among the remaining Measurements, two have no sources listed and two suggest one dataset each.

    Time constraints precluded the identification of recommended datasets during the Pilot Study. The investigation of this Desired Outcome is continuing.

    Canada

    8.1 Measurement A: Presence and Abundance of Selected Key Species within the Food Web

    Key species for this Measurement should include "a top predator, a mid-trophic level species, and a species at the food base" (IETF, 1996, p.33). For Lake Superior, lake trout (a top aquatic predator) and Pontoporeia (Diaporeia) hoyi as a food base species are suggested in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (Annex 11, p.69). Hexagenia limbata has been suggested as a food base species for Lake Erie (Krantzberg, 1997).

    Conclusions and Recommendations

    In conclusion, and based on the survey of databases to date available in Canada only, there appears to be sufficient and applicable information to support this Measurement. However, the selection of key species at all trophic levels for each Great Lake is essential before this Measurement can be totally applied to the Desired Outcome.

    8.2 Measurement B: Quantity and Quality of Particular Habitat Types

    The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Annexes 2 and 13, address fish and wildlife habitat degradation; the IETF Report (1996) suggested that particular habitat types should include "wetlands and spawning beds for desirable native species."

    In conclusion, there appears to be many databases to support the information needed for this Measurement. However, more information was found to describe the quantity of habitat types rather than the quality of the habitats. As well, the selection of the particular habitat types to be used for the Measurement is essential before the Measurement can be applied to the Desired Outcome.

    8.3 Measurement C: Number and Abundance of Endangered Native Species

    This Measurement includes fish, waterfowl, plants and invertebrates but includes implicitly other groups, e.g. reptile, amphibians, wildlife.

    In conclusion, there is a strong linkage between this Measurement and that for Quantity and Quality of Particular Habitat Types. Furthermore, this Measurement for endangered species is strongly supported by work in Canada and the United States and by the United Nations (OECD). This Measurement is very promising for early implementation. However, decisions are needed for designating types of species, by name, and further definition of "endangered", i.e. do you include other categories, e.g. "at risk."

    8.4 Measurement D: Cumulative Number and Abundance of Exotic Species Introduced

    Exotic species were described by the IETF as "particularly those [species] liable to displace desirable native species from the available habitat and thereby decrease diversity, or species deliberately introduced but incapable of maintaining a self-sustaining population in the habitats available and therefore incapable of forming part of a self-sustaining community" (IETF, 1996, p.33).

    Potential species to consider for this Measurement include zebra and quagga mussels, Bythotrephes, goby, sea lamprey and ruffe.

    For aquatic species, Mills et al (1994) state that "The Great Lakes currently host at least 139 nonindigenous fishes, invertebrates, fish disease pathogens, plants and algae. These species are successfully reproducing, were not present in the Great Lakes before 1800, and were transported into the ecosystem by humans." The authors discuss the identity, origins, dispersal mechanisms and impacts of a range of nonindigenous species. Edsall and Charlton (1996) also wrote that "at least 25 non-native fishes have become established in the Great Lakes since European settlement of the region; nearly half of them have had substantial ecological and economic effects on the region" (SOLEC 1996).

    Conclusions

    To further develop this Measurement it will be necessary to:

    There is an extensive database of historical and current information in both Canada and the US, identifying exotic species. The format of the data appears to lean more towards papers and reports then databases. However, perhaps numbers and general territories of the exotics would suffice for the Measurement, if only the 'Cumulative Number' and not 'Abundance' was considered.

    8.5 Measurement E: Fish Harvest Statistics vs. Spawning Biomass Levels

    This Measurement is meant to assess "overharvesting to the point of reducing populations below a minimum viable level" (IETF, 1996, p.33). The search for datasets revealed several possibilities for Fish Harvest Statistics but none for Spawning Biomass Levels.

    Conclusions:

    If only the Fish Harvest Statistics portion of this Measurement were used, reports by Environment Canada and OECD provide supporting information. The OECD indicator, 'Fish Catches', "focuses on marine fish resources but extends to freshwater fish" (OECD, 1994, p.110). The Environment Canada indicator is 'Commercial Fish Harvest in the Great Lakes', supported by data from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the OMNR. The long-term objective for the Environment Canada indicator is identified as "Under the Great Lakes Fishery Commission goal, self-sustaining stocks of native fish species be restored (eg., lake trout)" (Environment Canada, 1991, p.80).

    However, implementaton of this Measurement requires a further understanding and definition of the concept "Spawning Biomass Levels."

    8.6 Measurement F: Toxic Contaminant Levels in Selected Fish Species and in Selected Fish-Eating Birds

    This Measurement overlaps with concentrations of PTS in top predator fish and fish-eating birds from the Desired Outcome "Virtual Elimination of Inputs of PTS." The difference is that this Measurement does not specify those fish species which are "top predators."

    Conclusions and Recommendations

    The concept of using selected species as sentinels, e.g. spottail shiners, supports this Measurement. However, the distinction of top predator fish is also critically important for this Measurement. The Measurement combines with "Concentrations of PTS in Top Predator Fish and Fish-Eating Birds" from the Desired Outcome: Virtual Elimination of Inputs of PTS.

    8.7 Measurement G: Ambient Phosphorus Concentrations

    This Measurement overlaps with the Desired Outcome "Absence of Excess Phosphorus." One issue to be resolved is the selection of a measurement (eg. total or dissolved phosphorus) to support this Measurement.

    Environment Canada
    Great Lakes Water Quality STAR Database

    See the description under Measurement D for the Desired Outcome: Virtual Elimination of Inputs of Persistent Toxic Substances.

    Environment Canada
    National Water Quality Database (NAQUADAT)

    NAQUADAT includes data collected from approximately 10,000 locations nationwide, including the Great Lakes. Parameters include contaminants in fish tissues, algae growth and presence, sediment chemical concentrations (including PTS) and total phosphorus. Not all parameters are measured at each station. Stations are located by latitude and longitude. This database is being replaced by EnviroDat.

    Ontario Ministry of the Environment
    Great Lakes Water Quality

    See the description under Measurement D for the Desired Outcome: Virtual Elimination of Inputs of Persistent Toxic Substances.

    Conclusions and Recommendations

    One of the indicators being developed by Environment Canada is 'Concentrations of Phosphorus and Nitrogen in Water'. NAQUADAT is the data source. Environment Canada reported that "An objective of 0.01 milligrams per litre for total phosphorus was set for Lake Ontario [in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Phosphorus Supplement to Annex 3] to restore the lake to a non-eutrophic state. This level has been achieved since 1986 for the midlake region" (Environment Canada, 1991, p.41).

    The US-EPA has also proposed an indicator 'Surface Water Pollutants' under the Objective Conserve and Improve Ambient Conditions which may include phosphorus concentrations.

    In conclusion, although this Measurement appears to overlap the Desired Outcome: Absence of Excess Phosphorus, nevertheless, this Measurement provides information that relates to primary productivity in the Great Lakes.

    9.0 OBSERVATIONS

    "Implementing" indicators, even only for four Desired Outcomes applied to only two lakes, was complicated and expensive. There is considerable debate within agencies and public groups about the application and use of indicators and measurements as means by which to assess the state of any system and also to measure changes. As well, there are words and terms imbeded in scientific jargon and in the GLWQA, which have meanings that vary with discipline, application and use (e.g. the terms "Integrity" and "Diversity"). All of these factors complicated attempts to discover programs, analyze data and make interpretations that can apply to any indicator.

    The original tools of the Indicators Pilot Study included a matrix of datasets, seventeen criteria questions and the Desired Outcomes and Indicators included in the scope of the Study. During the Study, the criteria questions were revised. The matrix became more of a guide than a definitive collection as more sources of data were discovered by the researchers.

    As work progressed, gaining an understanding of the Indicators became a major task for the researchers. Calling a contact and asking the criteria questions did not provide all the information required to analyse findings and make recommendations. As more Desired Outcomes were examined, the inter-relationships and significance of each Indicator become more important.

    The collection of data, analysis and presentation continue to evolve as new protocols, sampling and manipulation of data develop. The data will need to be brought to some standard format in order to implement the Indicators. The alternative is to initiate, through the Parties, new and standard monitoring programs to support selected Indicators. This initiative might come from SOLEC '98.

    10.0 FINDINGS

    10.1 Data

    10.1.1 The discovery and critical examination of databases was complicated by lack of:

    10.1.2 Temporal and spacial gaps occurred in most databases

    10.1.3 Most data systems had not been designed to be compatible for GIS

    10.1.4 Some data bases and sets had restricted access because of information collected in confidence

    10.1.5 Some agencies are developing accessibility criteria that include full-cost recovery from users.

    10.1.6 Many references outlined in the SOLEC '96 matrix were blind leads. The followup process was time-consuming for the researchers, and the results of these searches are not reflected in this report.

    10.2 Fishability

    The use of this Indicator for this Desired Outcome is restricted because there is no binational approach to sampling, analyses and reporting contaminants in fish flesh. Further, different jurisdictions have different health standards. Finally, the Indicator restricts reporting progress because it does not include measurements that report changes in size of fish "safe-to-eat."

    10.3 Swimmability

    The IETF proposed beach closing Indicator "formula" is needlessly complex and inappropriate because agencies neither compile these data nor make these calculations.

    10.4 Persistent Toxic Substances

    Our observations related to this Desired Outcome are reflected in the findings concerning data incompatibility, etc. listed in 10.1. Implementation of the Measurement "Concentration of Persistent Toxic Substances in Top Predator Fish and Fish Eating Birds" would be expedited by binational agreement on the species to be sampled using standardized protocols.

    10.5 Biological Community Integrity and Diversity

    The seven Measurements proposed by the IETF for this Desired Outcome find limited support among the many databases investigated during the IITF Pilot Study. Existing monitoring programs apparently do not supply sufficient information to address the abundance, quantity and quality issues noted in the IETF proposed measurements. Consensus definitions are lacking for, "key species... spawning biomass... top predator... etc." A fundamental difficulty with this Desired Outcome is that no agreement has been achieved on basic definitions of ecosystem integrity and diversity.

    11.0 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER WORK

    12.0 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    The Task Force recognizes the significant and painstaking work done by Joe Lozon (IJC, Windsor), Lu Woodward (SUNY, Buffalo) and Grace Howland (Guelph) (Howland, 1997; Howland et al, 1997; Lozon, 1997; Woodward, 1997(a); Woodward, 1997(b)). These investigators made the contacts in government agencies, and persuaded busy people to respond with extensive collections of data. Dr. Isobel Heathcote, University of Guelph, worked with Grace Howland, and Dr. Joseph DePinto, SUNY/Buffalo assisted Lu Woodward.

    The Task Force is also grateful for funding assistance from Environment Canada through its Science Horizons program. Dr. Harvey Shear was the contact with the IITF.

    13.0 LITERATURE CITED

    Beneficial Use Impairment Subcommittee Recreational Water Quality Team (1997). Beneficial Use Impairment Assessment (BUIA) on Recreational Water Quality Impairments (Bacterial Levels and Beach Postings). Unpublished document prepared for the Lake Erie LaMP.

    Canada/Ontario (1997) Second Report of Progress Under the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem 1995-1997.

    De Vault, D., D.M. Whittle and S. Rang (1994). Toxic Contaminants in the Great Lakes. SOLEC Working Paper presented at State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference. EPA 905- D-94-001e. Chicago : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    DeVault, D., R. Hesselberg, P. W. Rodgers and T. J. Feist (1996). Contamination Trends in Lake Trout and Walleye From the Laurentian Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 22:4 p. 884-95.

    Dolan, D.M., K.P. McGunagle, S. Perry and E. Voldner (1993). Source Investigation for Lake Superior. Windsor : International Joint Commission.

    Edsall, Thomas and Murray Charlton (1996) Nearshore Waters of the Great Lakes. SOLEC Working Paper presented at State of the Great Lakes Ecosystem Conference.

    Environment Canada. Indicators Task Force (1991). A Report on Canada's Progress Towards a National Set of Environmental Indicators. Ottawa : Supply and Services Canada.

    Environmental Protection Agency (1994). 1994 Report to Congress. National Water Quality Inventory & Appendix. EPA-841-R-95-005.

    Environmental Protection Agency (1994). First Report to Congress. Deposition of Air Pollutants to the Great Waters. EPA-453/R-93-055.

    Environmental Protection Agency (1995). Report to Congress. Executive Summary of the National Water Quality Inventory. The Quality of Our Nations Water: 1994. EPA- 841-S-94-002.

    Environmental Protection Agency (1996). Environmental Indicators of Water Quality in the United States. EPA-841-R-96-002.

    Harris, H.J. and D. Scheberle. Ode to the Miner's Canary: The Search for Environmental Indicators. In: Knapp, Gerrit, Environmental Program Evaluation: A Primer, T. Kim and J. Fittipaldi, eds., University of Illinois, 1995.

    Health and Welfare Canada (1992). Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality. Ottawa : Minister of Supply and Services.

    Howland, G. (1997). Criteria spreadsheets for Fishability and Virtual Elimination of Persistent Toxic Substances (unpublished Indicators Implementation Task Force Pilot Study : Phase One material).

    Howland, Grace, Joseph Lozon and Lucille Woodward (1997). Pilot Study of Three Desired Outcomes. Unpublished Compilation Report presented to the International Joint Commission Indicators Implementation Task Force.

    International Joint Commission (1989). Proposed Listing/Delisting Criteria for Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Focus on International Joint Commission Activities. Vol. 14, issue 1, insert.

    International Joint Commission: Indicators for Evaluation Task Force (1996). Indicators to Evaluate Progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Ottawa and Washington.

    Johnson, B.L., H.E. Hicks, D.E. Jones, W. Cibulas and C.T. De Rosa (1997). Public Health Implications of Persistent Toxic Substances in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basins. Unpublished paper presented at the Great Lakes Health Effects Conference, May, 1997. Atlanta : U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Kiriluk, R.M., J.F. Gorrie, A.A. Carswell, D.M. Whittle and M.J. Keir (1996). A Guide to the Great Lakes Fisheries Specimen Bank Data Base (1977 to 1994). Canadian Data Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences No. 973. Burlington, Ontario : Bayfield Institute.

    Krantzberg, Gail. Program Support Section. Program Development Branch. Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Energy (1997). Personal Communication, December 4.

    Leger, W. and R. Greenwood (1996). Information and Information Management. State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference '96 Background Paper.

    Lozon, J. (1997). Pilot Study of the Desired Outcomes Fishability, Virtual Elimination of Persistent Toxic Substances, and Biological Community Integrity and Diversity for Lakes Erie and Superior. Unpublished report submitted to the International Joint Commission's Indicators Implementation Task Force.

    Mills, Edward L. Joseph H. Leach, James T. Carlton and Carol L. Secor (1994). Exotic Species and the Integrity of the Great Lakes : Lessons from the Past. BioScience 44:10 p. 666-676.

    Ontario Ministry of Health. Mandatory Health Programs and Services. Public Health Branch (1992). Beach Management Protocol Water Quality Program.

    Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Water Resources Branch. Water Management Section (1992). The In-Place Pollutants Program : Volume VII : A Synthesis of the Program. Toronto : Queen's Printer for Ontario.

    Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (1994). Environmental Indicators : Core Set. Paris : OECD.

    State of New York. Department of Health. Center for Environmental Health (1994?). Health Advisories : Chemicals in Sportfish and Game 1993-94. Albany, NY.

    Statistics Canada and Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (1994). Databases for Environmental Analysis : Provincial and Territorial Governments. Ottawa : Minister of Industry, Science and Technology.

    Woodward, L. (1997a) Criteria spreadsheets for Fishability and Virtual Elimination of Persistent Toxic Substances (unpublished Indicators Implementation Task Force Pilot Study : Phase One material).

    Woodward, L. (1997b) Indicators U.S. Pilot Study for Lake Superior and Lake Erie : Final Report. Unpublished report submitted to the International Joint Commission's Indicators Implementation Task Force.

    14.0 MEMBERSHIP

    Douglas Alley (Secretary, Indicators Implementation Task Force)
    International Joint Commission

    Bruce Bandurski
    International Joint Commission

    Lisa Bourget
    International Joint Commission

    Kelly Burch (Water Quality Board)
    Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

    Alice Chamberlin
    International Joint Commission

    James Chandler
    International Joint Commission

    Joseph DePinto (Council of Great Lakes Research Managers)
    State University of New York at Buffalo

    Douglas Dodge (Water Quality Board) Canadian Co-Chair
    Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

    Gary Gulezian (Water Quality Board) U.S. Co-Chair
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Isobel Heathcote (Science Advisory Board)
    University of Guelph

    Gail Krantzberg (Water Quality Board)
    Ontario Ministry of Environment

    Rudy Koop
    International Joint Commission

    Harvey Shear (Council of Great Lakes Research Managers)
    Environment Canada

    Tim Smith
    U.S. Geological Survey

    Footnotes

    1Implementation" in this Report means "searching for the information necessary and sufficient for measurements and indicators selected to support and define the nine Desired Outcomes."

    2The 11 critical persistent toxic substances are total PCB, 2,3,7,8-TCDD, 2,3,7,8-TCDF, Dieldrin, Toxaphene, Mirex, Mercury, Alkylated Lead, Benzo(a)pyrene and Hexachlorobenzene.