Ecosystems & Fisheries

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GOAL: Provide data to support policies and decision-making that result in protection, ecological restoration, and enable multiple sustainable uses of healthy Great Lakes and coastal ecosystems.

MANAGEMENT AND POLICY DRIVERS: Ecosystem health is of significant concern for a wide variety of individuals and organizations focused on the Great Lakes. Ecosystem health is affected by multiple, interacting stressors that range from invasive species, prolonged lake level fluctuation, and the beneficial use impairments identified in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, such as excessive nutrient loading due to human activities, persistent toxics, and degradation of fish and wildlife populations and habitats.

Regional and national management and policy efforts related to ecosystem health include:

  • The development of a nearshore framework, the Area of Concern and Lakewide Management and Planning processes, and the State of the Lake Ecosystem Conference indicators under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
  • The research priorities and lake committee management needs identified under A Joint Strategic Plan for the Management of Great Lakes Fisheries
  • The Great Lakes Blue Accounting Process being implemented by the Council of Great Lakes Governors and Premiers, and the Great Lakes Commission
  • International Joint Commission Assessment of Progress Indicators and Adaptive Management activities
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and related action planning priorities
  • The US IOOS National Animal Telemetry Network
  • State compliance/ monitoring and reporting under U.S. Clean Water Act Section 305(b) and 303(d)

The Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observing System compiles acoustic telemetry project information and helps users learn more about ongoing acoustic telemetry projects in the Great Lakes. Scientists have been implanting Great Lakes fish with transmitters and, like the GPS on a car, have been tracking fish movement through a network of receivers placed on the bottom of the lakes. The purpose of GLATOS is to help scientists and the public learn more about Great Lakes acoustic telemetry projects and their contribution to research.

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