Welcome the Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Basin Indicator Project
There is a long history of U.S.-Canada cooperation on investigating, monitoring, and managing the Great Lakes, including the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie. The Detroit River-Western Lake Erie ecosystem has many long-term data sets because of its manufacturing history that contributed to many long-standing environmental and natural resource problems. This Detroit River-Western Lake Erie indicator project will:
- compile and analyze available, U.S. and Canadian data on various indicators of ecosystem status, quality, and trends, and the factors that affect them;
- translate and communicate indicator trends clearly for policy-makers and managers; and
- identify data gaps and future indicators to be able to comprehensively assess the state of this ecosystem.
What is an Indicator?
An indicator is a measurable feature that provides useful information on ecosystem status, quality or trends and the factors that affect them. Examples of indicators used in this report include contaminants in fish, coastal wetland loss, reproductive success of threatened and endangered species, urban sprawl, land use changes, pollutant emissions, and many others. Indicator reporting clearly communicates ecosystem trends to policy makers and managers to aid in decision-making.
Indicators are frequently placed into three different categories to illustrate causal relationships: pressure, state, and response. Click on the indicator type to learn more.
- Pressure indicators describe the direct and indirect pressures, including human activities that impact the environment.
- State indicators describe the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the natural world and human health and welfare.
- Response indicators describe societal actions in policy or behavior undertaken to improve and protect the environment.
Policy-makers and decision-makers at all levels need timely, reliable, and relevant information on indicators for management purposes. Indicators measure progress toward management goals and objectives. From a management perspective, particular emphasis needs to be placed on quantifying targets and endpoints for management programs.
Purpose of the Indicator Project
The purpose of this project is to:
- Compile and interpret long-term data bases for ecosystem indicators from the Detroit River-Western Lake Erie basin;
- Translate the information into understandable terms for policy-makers and managers; and
- Make these indicator data and trends readily available.
In order to narrow the scope of this project and keep it manageable, particular emphasis will be given to ecosystem indicators from the Detroit River-Western Lake Erie basin, however, it is recognized that some indicators will be larger in scope and include the entire Huron- Erie corridor (St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River and Western Lake Erie).
Benefits of the Indicator Project
This indicator project will help:
- Educate policy-makers and decision-makers on status and trends of indicators;
- Improve accessibility of data and information;
- Measure and celebrate success;
- Foster adaptive management;
- Fabricate watershed level ecological health assessment;
- Build support for additional remedial and preventive management actions; and
- Promote stewardship through broad-based education.
Current Indicator Project Partners:
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Environment Canada
- Metropolitan Affairs Coalition
- U of M -School of Natural Resources
- Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans
- Ontario Ministry of Environment
- Southeast Michigan Raptor Research
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources
- Heidelberg College
- U.S. Coast Guard
- Detroit Audubon Society
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- University of Michigan - Dearborn
- University of Windsor
- DTE Energy
- International Joint Commission
- Michigan Sea Grant
- Monroe Water Intake
- The Nature Conservancy
- Essex Region Conservation Authority
- Canadian Consulate
- Wayne State University
- Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Geological Survey
- International Association for Great Lakes Research
- Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Join the Indicator Project Team:
To become a partner in this Indicator Project please contact:
U.S. Co-Chair - John H. Hartig, Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Canadian Co-Chair - Michael Zarull, Project Chief, Sediment Remediation
National Water Research Institute
Ashlee Vincent, Environment Canada Science Horizons Intern
University of Windsor
Phone: 519-253-3000 x 4764