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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

State of the Strait Report Assesses the Health of the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie

This indicator project and report are a product of the Canada-U.S. State of the Strait Conference held every two years to bring together government managers, researchers, students, members of environmental and conservation organizations, and concerned citizens to collaboratively assess ecosystem status and provide advice to improve research, monitoring, and management programs for the Detroit River and western Lake Erie.

Major findings include pollution prevention and control programs have resulted in substantial improvements in environmental quality in the Detroit River and western Lake Erie that have led to dramatic ecological recovery. However, there are also signs of deteriorating conditions.

Six key environmental and natural resource challenges remain: transportation expansion resulting in land use changes and regional population growth; nonpoint source pollution; toxic substances contamination; habitat loss and degradation; introduction of exotic species; and greenhouse gases and global warming.

The report recommends that resources be pooled on a regular basis (at least every five years) to undertake comprehensive and integrative assessments through a Canada-U.S. partnership of key management organizations. In addition, the report recommends that: a higher priority should be placed on quantifying targets for indicators (only 17 of 50 indicators have quantitative targets); future assessments should include more pressure, response, economic, social, and human health indicators; and greater emphasis should be placed on making sure that there is equivalent data coverage on both sides of the border.

For a complete copy of the report titled “State of the Strait: Status and Trends of Key Indicators,” please visit the following websites:

State of the Strait

Source and Contact:

Dr. John Hartig

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service