International Joint Commission Sustainable Cities, Healthy Watersheds

Great Science - The Key to Great Lakes Restoration
International Joint Commission to Honor Dr. Gerald J. Niemi with the 2007 Biennial Award for Great Lakes Science

Dr. Gerald J. Niemi

To publicly recognize that great science is key to the successful restoration of the Great Lakes, the International Joint Commission (IJC) today announced that Dr. Gerald J. Niemi is the 2007 recipient of the IJC's Biennial Award for Great Lakes Science. Dr. Niemi, Director of the Center for Water and the Environment at the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Natural Resources Institute, will receive the Biennial Award along with $5,000 during the IJC's June 6-8, 2007 Great Lakes Biennial Meeting and Conference on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Niemi will be given the award and deliver a talk entitled "Are the Great Lakes Coastal Zones in Trouble?" at 1:30 p.m., June 7, at the University's Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted, Chicago.

"The key to accelerating the clean up of the Great Lakes is understanding what to measure, how to measure it, and knowing when the job is done. Dr. Niemi's work developing indicators of lake health will be invaluable as the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is reviewed and a new framework with a focus on accountability is adopted," said Dennis Schornack, the U.S. Co-Chair of the IJC.

Nominated by scientists and policymakers, the IJC chose to present the award to Dr. Niemi because of his exceptional contributions to Great Lakes science through his vision and leadership in the successful development and completion of the Great Lakes Environmental Indicators Project (GLEI).

Under Dr. Niemi's direction, GLEI was funded for $5 million over five years by the U.S. EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program. With additional funds from U.S. EPA and NOAA, nearly $6.4 million was dedicated to developing environmental indicators that will be used to assess the condition of the coastal nearshore of all five Great Lakes. Dr. Niemi brought together and led a diverse team of 27 researchers from ten academic institutions as well as scientists at the EPA's Mid-Continent Ecology Division.