1999~2001
Priorities Report

I n t r o d u c t i o n

In the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the
United States and Canada
(the Parties) agree "to restore
and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem." To achieve this purpose, the Parties have undertaken numerous programs, policies and other measures and have obligated themselves to periodic reporting on their progress.

The International Joint Commission's (IJC) role is to evaluate and assess the Parties' programs and provide a report at least every two years that presents its findings, advice and recommendations. To fulfill its evaluative role, the IJC relies upon numerous sources. A major source of information and assistance are the two joint institutions established under the Agreement the Great Lakes Water Quality Board (WQB) and the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board (SAB).

As principal advisor to the IJC, the WQB comprises 20 program managers and administrators from the two federal governments, the eight states and two provinces in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River basin. The SAB, whose 18 members represent a broad range of disciplines, provides scientific advice to both the IJC and WQB.

In 1984, the IJC established the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers (CGLRM) whose 22 members provide advice related to the coordination and evaluation of Great Lakes research efforts. Given the significance of the air as a pathway by which contaminants reach the waters of the Great Lakes, the IJC relies on its International Air Quality Advisory Board (IAQAB), established in 1966 under the

auspices of the Boundary Waters Treaty, to provide advice in this regard. The IJC also establishes task forces and other groups to address specific issues or subjects that are particularly germane to fulfilling the Agreement purpose.

Recognizing the need to secure the views and opinions of basin stakeholders, the IJC engages in a variety of public consultation activities. The information received from this broad-based consultation contributes significantly to the insight, advice and recommendations that the IJC provides to governments through its biennial reports.

To manage its human and financial resources, the IJC establishes priorities based on the advice it receives from its advisory boards. The priorities for the current 1999-2001 cycle were adopted by the IJC Commissioners in the fall of 1999 after the 1999 Great Lakes Water Quality Forum held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 1999-2001 priorities are summarized in the following table. Responsibility to undertake the priorities was assigned to the WQB, SAB, CGLRM and IAQAB.

The four chapters in this report were prepared by the groups responsible for the identified priorities. They define and describe the specific investigations undertaken to support each priority and present the groups' findings, conclusions and recommendations. No attempt was made to harmonize the content or recommendations, as they represent each groups particular advice to the IJC with respect to their charge and obligations.


Commission Priorities
for 1999-2001


Priority
Review of Programs Regulating Introduction of Biological Pollution (Alien Invasive Species) into the Great Lakes


Summary
To assess the various regulatory programs in place attempting to control introduction of biological pollution and provide recommendations as to additional and changes to existing Great Lakes regulatory programs.

Responsibility
Lead: Great Lakes Water Quality Board

Product (Chapter)
1.2 Alien Invasive Species and Biological Pollution of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

3.6 Invasive Species Research


Priority
Assessment of Progress Under Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy


Summary
To assess progress toward achievement of the Agreement’s virtual elimination goal, and to help the Commission develop advice to governments.

Responsibility
Lead: Great Lakes Water Quality Board

Product (Chapter) 1.3 Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy



Priority
Investigation of Source-Receptor Relationship for Atmospheric Deposition of Dioxin to the Great Lakes

Summary
To model and estimate source-receptor relationships for the atmospheric deposition of Dioxin to the Great Lakes.

Responsibility
Lead: International Air Quality Advisory Board

Product (Chapter)
2.3.6 The Use of Atmospheric Modelling in Policy Development and Using Models to Develop Air Toxics Reduction Strategies

4.2 Ann Arbor Workshop, July 2000: The Use of Atmospheric Modelling in Policy Development

4.3 Milwaukee Workshop, November 2000: Using Models to Develop Air Toxic Reductions Strategies: Lake Michigan as a Test Case

4.4 Ambient Measurements - Interpretation and Use

4.5 Applications of Models

4.6 Conclusions and Recommendations



Priority
Methodology for Assessing Community Health in Relation to Effects of Aquatic Pollutants

Summary
To develop a methodology for assessing whether human health effects are occurring in actual subpopulations of humans in the Great Lakes basin.

Responsibility
Lead: Great Lakes Science Advisory Board with assistance from its Workgroup on Ecosystem Health and the IJC’s Health Professionals Task Force.

Product (Chapter)
2.2.1 Methodologies for Community Health Assessment: Measuring Injury to Health

2.2.2 Protecting Human Health From Exposure to Contaminants in Great Lakes Fish


Priority
Annex 2: Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans

Summary
To assist the Parties in the development and implementation of RAPs and LaMPs through: conducting status assessments to evaluate activities, workshops to transfer information and foster implementation, and RAP and LaMP reviews in order to gauge progress toward restoration of beneficial uses.

Responsibility
Lead: Annex 2 advisory staff in collaboration with the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board and Great Lakes of Water Quality Board

Product (Chapter)

1.5 Remedial Action Plans

1.6 IJC Request for Advice

1.7 Criteria for Removal of the AOC Designation

2.3.5 Remedial Action Plan Assessment: Site Visits to the Niagara River and St. Lawrence Areas of Concern



Other Priorities and Initiatives


Summary
To identify and provide insight and advice on other topics relevant to fulfilling the purpose of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and in accordance with the directive to the Great Lakes Water Quality Board, Great Lakes Science Advisory Board and the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers, including emerging issues.

Product
1.4 Legal Workshop on Protection of Great Lakes Water Quality from Atmospheric Deposition of Contaminants

2.3.1 Review of Annex 1 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

2.3.3 Nonpoint Sources of Pollution from Land-use Activities

2.3.4 Evaluation of SOLEC Indicators Relative to the GLWQA

2.4 Emerging Issues in Great Lakes Science, Research and Policy

3.2 Ecological Impacts of Changing Demographics within the Great Lakes Basin

3.3 Emerging Contaminants and Pharmaceuticals in Great Lakes Waters

3.4 Understanding the Interaction of Ground Water and Surface Water in the Great Lakes Basin

3.5 Understanding the Long-term Impacts of Water Level Fluctuations, Diversions and Consumptive Uses in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River System

3.7 Frameworks for Modelling Ecological Change in the Detroit River - Lake Erie




1999~2001
Priorities Report


R e c o m m e n d a t i o n s


The following 48 recommendations were developed by the Great Lakes Water Quality Board, Great Lakes Water Quality Board, the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers and the International Air Quality Advisory Board for the International Joint Commission’s consideration. Substantiating details are provided in the sections indicated.


GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY BOARD

The WQB recommends the following to the IJC:

1.2 Alien Invasive Species and Biological Pollution of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem 16

• As the core of a preventative, binational approach for addressing the serious threat of alien invasive species in the Great Lakes basin, the Commission should recommend to the Parties that effective binational ballast water discharge standards be developed, implemented and enforced throughout the Great Lakes basin as rapidly as possible. Further, the Commission should recommend the Parties prohibit the discharge of ballast water of any type into the Great Lakes basin from ballasted vessels and from vessels reporting no ballast on board (NOBOB), whatever their origin, that do not meet the binational standards while they are within the Great Lakes basin.


• To aid in achieving the binational ballast water discharge standards, the Commission should recommend that the Parties, in cooperation with shippers and other relevant stakeholders, facilitate an immediate and significant investment in resources directed to the development of effective, long-term ballast water treatment technologies (e.g. filtration, ultraviolet light, heat, ozone), either onboard vessels or through onshore facilities. The Parties should also facilitate research directed to studying the life cycles of alien species with the greatest potential for invading the Great Lakes basin ecosystem, including identification of their potential interactions with, and impacts on, indigenous aquatic species.

• Until acceptable long-term treatment technologies are developed for treating ballast water to achieve the binational discharge standards, the Commission should recommend that the Parties give serious consideration to chemical treatment of ballast water as a short-term, emergency measure for all vessels entering the Great Lakes from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone. To facilitate the short-term, emergency use of chemical treatment, the Commission should recommend that the Parties, in cooperation with shippers and other relevant stakeholders, undertake appropriate testing and evaluation activities to determine the efficacy of alternative chemicals, including effective biocide chemical dosages, relative costs, onboard handling requirements and vessel safety, and potential environmental impacts of treated ballast water discharges. The Parties should develop and apply a uniform protocol for evaluating the results from the testing and evaluation program for application throughout the Great Lakes basin.

• The Commission should recommend to the Parties that shippers and other relevant stakeholders immediately implement best management practices for ballast tank sediment control for all vessels entering the Great Lakes basin. The Commission should also recommend that the Parties undertake a program to publicly recognize the efforts of shippers engaged in good management practices.


• The Commission should recommend to the Parties that, as rapidly as possible, shippers incorporate vessel design modifications as appropriate for existing and new vessels, as a means of facilitating ballast water exchange on the open seas, and the effectiveness of other measures being considered (e.g. chemicals, filtration, ultraviolet light, heat) for treating ballast water to meet binational discharge standards. The Commission should also assist the Parties as appropriate in their interactions with the International Maritime Organization on the issue of vessel design modifications as a means of addressing the problem of alien invasive species in ballast water.

• The Commission should recommend that the Parties develop and implement effective contingency plans for responding to (i) the accidental discharge of untreated ballast water resulting from a collision or grounding of a vessel in the Great Lakes basin; (ii) the initial discovery of a new alien invasive species in the Great Lakes basin ecosystem; and (iii) the discovery of an alien invasive species in a region previously thought to be free of such organisms. The Commission should also recommend that the Parties clearly identify the responsible agencies and lines of authority for addressing alien invasive species in the Great Lakes basin, and ensure the information is readily available throughout the basin. Further, the Commission should recommend that the Parties facilitate systematic monitoring throughout the Great Lakes basin as a means of assessing the extent of current infestations, as well as facilitating early detection of new alien invasive species.


GREAT LAKES SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD

The SAB recommends the following to the IJC:

2.1 Methodologies for Community Health Assessment: Measuring Injury to Health 37

• Recommend that the Parties establish prospective and retrospective registries of neurological deficits to identify subpopulations at risk from exposures to developmental toxicants.

• Recommend that the Parties establish institutional health structures at the local and regional level that can effectively investigate and respond to community health concerns that may be caused by chemical pollutants.

• Link human epidemiology to exposure data on air, water, sediments and biota in the preparation of future reports on Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans.

• Recommend that the Parties facilitate the access of researchers to health information, while not compromising the rights of individuals to privacy and confidentiality.

• Recommend that the Parties make representations, with respect to pending legislation on the privacy and confidentiality of health information, to ensure that the capacity to monitor long-term trends in pollutant-induced diseases and disorders is not jeopardized.

• Recommend that the Parties develop a coordinated binational monitoring program to determine the incidence of health effects in wildlife that have been attributed to exposures to persistent toxic substances.

• Recommend that the Parties monitor the chemical exposures of human and wildlife populations using limits of detection appropriate to the known toxicology of these substances.

2.2 Protecting Human Health from Exposure to Contaminants in Great Lakes Fish 47

• Recommend to the Parties that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada convene a binational committee to develop a uniform and consistent protocol to protect human health from contaminants in Great Lakes fish.

3.1 Review of Annex 1 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 52

• Recommend that the Parties initiate a transparent and inclusive process to revise Annex 1 to drive actions toward accomplishment of the Agreement's purpose.

• Recommend that the Parties, in conjunction with revisions to Annex 1, design and implement binationally harmonized monitoring and surveillance that will allow statistically credible judgments regarding achievement of the Specific Objectives.

3.2 Review of Agreement 58

• Recommend that the Parties conduct a review of the adequacy of the Agreement, given the evolving state of basin governance and the need for the Agreement and its institutions, to both adapt to and influence that evolution.

3.3 Nonpoint Sources of Pollution from Land-use Activities 58

• Recommend that the Parties quantify pollutant loadings to receiving waters by individual nonpoint source control practices, the nature and magnitude of associated impacts and the costs of control (and lack of control) of nonpoint source pollution.

• Recommend that the Parties adopt systematic methods to evaluate nonpoint source pollution control programs.

• Recommend that the Parties develop performance standards for non-point source pollution control technologies, including standards for the land surface.

• Recommend that the Parties to extend the use of economic incentives for the control of pollution from nonpoint sources.

• Recommend that the Parties adopt full-cost pricing of water and sewerage services, incorporating a scarcity value of the water and including provisions for infrastructure maintenance, upgrading and replacement.

• Recommend that the Parties review current institutional arrangements for water and watershed management, and explore the feasibility of collaborative, multi-stakeholder regional or watershed-based institutional structures.

3.4 Evaluation of SOLEC Indicators 63

• Evaluate the utility of SOLEC indicators to fulfill the reporting requirements under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

• Increase the IJC's emphasis on its role to assess the state of the lakes and evaluate progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, now that a framework for indicators and reporting has been developed.

4.1 Application of a Methodological Framework and a Proposed Process for Agreement

Institutions in Addressing Emerging Issues in Great Lakes Science, Research and Policy 70

• Direct a specific group to be responsible for organizing and managing a workshop to identify trends and emerging issues under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement at the beginning of each biennial cycle, report on the outcome of their work at each IJC biennial Public Forum, and consider the information when developing work plans for priority activities during each next biennial cycle.


• Direct the advisory institutions of the IJC, according to their roles relative to the science, research and policy relevance of an issue, to take a leading role in assessing those issues related to their mandate.

• Direct the advisory institutions to provide a regular report on emerging issues to the IJC, as part of their biennial reporting process under the Agreement.

4.2 Green Chemistry 72

• Recommend that the Parties promote and coordinate research efforts and visibility of green chemistry priorities within their programs, and on a binational level, to promote the innovation and adoption of new technologies in the emerging field of green chemistry to Great Lakes industry.


COUNCIL OF GREAT LAKES RESEARCH MANAGERS

The Council recommends the following to the IJC:

3.3 Emerging Contaminants and Pharmaceuticals in Great Lakes Waters 96

• Based on the information found in section 3.3 of the 1999-2001 Priorities and Progress under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement , recommend to the Parties that the following areas of research and action be implemented regarding emerging contaminants and pharmaceuticals in Great Lakes water:

a. examine inputs to and outputs from wastewater and drinking water treatment plants to determine if emerging contaminants are present;

b. determine the effective levels, biotic indicators and degradation times for the emerging contaminants; and

c. identify viable options for wastewater and drinking water treatment plants to remove those chemicals identified as potential threats to human health and the ecosystem.

3.4 Understanding the Interaction of Ground Water and Surface Water in the Great Lakes Basin 102

• Recommend to the Parties that the highest priority research funding be directed to the following ground water research needs listed in priority order:

a. research on the effects of land-use changes and population growth on ground water availability and quality;

b. development on a comprehensive description of the role of ground water in supporting ecological systems;

c. development of improved estimates that reliably reflect the true level and extent of consumptive use; and

d. esearch on ground water discharge to surface water streams and to the Great Lakes, and a systematic estimation of natural recharge areas.

3.5 Understanding the Long-term Impacts of Water Level Fluctuations, Diversions and

Consumptive Uses in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River System 105

• Recommend to the Parties that the following broad areas of research and action be implemented as they pertain to Great Lakes water quality:

a. research the effects of climate change and develop a simulation of Great Lakes watershed hydrology;
b. develop research needs for wetlands;

c. research coastal development including the evaluation of riparian shore properties and impacts of increased

dredging;

d. research the human ability to regulate water levels and assessments of long-term impacts of water level

fluctuations on ecosystem integrity; and

e. develop a common database for environmental and shoreline interests, water uses and better tools to project
future uses.

3.6 Alien Invasive Species Research 108


• Recommend that the Parties place an emphasis on the immediate implementation of current AIS research recommendations proposed by the Great Lakes Water Quality Board and other advisory panels.

• Recommend that the Parties give priority support and funding to well-focused, applied research needed to establish ballast water discharge standards and prevent new introductions of AIS.

• Recommend that the Parties provide resources for a binational coordination of efforts to ensure that a mutually acceptable ballast water discharge standard is developed and that unnecessary duplication of efforts is eliminated.


INTERNATIONAL AIR QUALITY ADVISORY BOARD

The IAQAB recommends the following to the IJC:

4.6.2 Sources and Loadings 151

There is a clear need to place the relative loading of persistent toxic substances from atmospheric deposition in context with the loading of these substances from all pathways to Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes.

• Recommend to the Parties that the completion of the Lake Michigan Mass Balance Study for all pathways is crucial to development of an effective control strategy and that U.S. EPA should expedite its prompt conclusion.

The Lake Michigan Mass Balance Study targets only four pollutants. At the present time, little information is available regarding the relative importance of atmospheric deposition to the loadings of other pollutants to Lake Michigan, or for essentially all pollutants of concern to the other Great Lakes.

• Recommend to the Parties that basic mass balance information should be developed for other pollutants of concern in Lake Michigan, as well as pollutants of concern in other lakes.

Current emission inventories must be improved and extended to areal sources if more precise model outputs and an effective control strategy are to be developed.

• Recommend to the Parties that the following immediate actions be taken.

a. For dioxin, review and compare the Great Lakes Air Toxics Emissions Inventory and the inventory developed by Dr. Cohen, with the goal of improving the dioxin inventory for the region, particularly for major point sources. The enhancement of emission factors, other parameters necessary to modeling, and production or process data should be significant elements of this effort. Specific to Lake Michigan, emissions from major sources within 100 km of the basin should be confirmed, preferably by a combination of source testing and data quality review.

b. Support further quantification of dioxin emissions associated with backyard residential waste burning, including refinement of areal emission factors and determination of the extent of this practice on a regional basis.

c. For a number of persistent toxics, including PCBs, chlordane, mercury and critical banned pesticides, perform a review of current and historical land-use records, along with targeted modeling and monitoring at urban centres using one or more of the techniques presented at the November 2000, IAQAB workshop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to estimate potential areal loadings.

d. Undertake an air toxics monitoring and measurement program designed to identify open sources of PCBs, such as contaminated brownfield and storage and waste management sites. This monitoring program should have a mobile capability with simplified procedures for deployment and relocation, as well as for upwind and downwind studies or measurements. All measurements should be coordinated with modeling predictions. Immediate priority should be given to estimating emissions from individual landfills, wastewater sludge drying operations and open transformer storage facilities for inclusion in the inventory. Measurement of other banned contaminants should also accompany such programs, as feasible.

4.6.2 Modeling 152

• Recommend to the Parties that the models and strategies for Lake Michigan and its related urban area of Chicago, reviewed at the workshops, should be developed further and their application extended to other urban areas and other lakes within and outside the Great Lakes basin.

• Recommend to the Parties, that as a first step, the adequacy of information on contaminant physical and chemical properties, as well as available emissions and ambient concentration data, should be determined prior to any modeling application.

• Recommend to the Parties that the Lake Michigan Mass Balance dataset, including available sample extracts and related measurements, and appropriate model(s), be used for the prediction of the sources and transport of other air toxics, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), beyond the original LMMB target compounds of mercury, PCBs, trans-nonachlor and atrazine.

• Recommend that the Parties explore the application of other multimedia non-steady state models as an effective method of determining the longer term trends in the deposition of persistent toxic substances to the Great Lakes.

• Recommend that the Parties apply models for pesticide volatilization from soils to fields within and outside the Great Lakes basin where significant concentrations of banned pesticide residuals are detected, both to estimate the possible contribution of continued cultivation and to develop a code of best practice for such areas.

• Recommend that the parties begin a predictive modeling effort to identify regions around the Great Lakes for which there is a high probability of substantial emissions of persistent toxics. Derivation and verification of any such modeling technique should be focused initially in major urban areas.

4.6.2 Ambient Sampling 152

• Recommend that the Parties continue ambient air sampling over the surface of the lake to provide better estimates of representative regional concentrations of these pollutants and improve the characterization of their air/water exchange.

• Given the regional designation of the Sleeping Bear Dunes IADN ambient monitoring site, recommend that the Parties interpret data collected at this site with assistance from atmospheric models that address air/surface dynamics and include meteorological models.

• Ensure that any modeling effort be supported by adequate ambient measurements to provide verification for any model output.

4.6.2 Source Control Initiatives 152

• The recently completed Delta Institute Lake Michigan Regional Air Toxics Stratgegy identifies linkages and opportunities for further air toxics reductions via various, ongoing, specific programs and initiatives under state and U.S. federal legislation. The IJC, through their relevant advisory boards, should review this proposed strategy and comment on its applicability to deposition reductions in the Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes basins from a binational perspective.