New Great Lakes environment maps are informative and worrisome

The Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping Project, a joint initiative of scientists at a number of US and Canadian universities and research organizations, has recently published a series of maps identifying the locations and seriousness of Great Lakes stressors. The maps provide a very helpful visual indication of the extent to which areas around the lakes are subject to a set of 34 categories of environmental stress.

Top line stressor headings include:

  • Aquatic Habitat
  • Climate Change
  • Coastal Development
  • Fisheries
  • Invasive Species
  • Nonpoint Pollution
  • Toxic Chemicals

Looking at Lakes Erie and Ontario, which are the lakes which the maps show to be most impacted by human activities on the Canadian side, key Canadian impacts in the nonpoint pollution and toxic chemical categories include:

  • nitrogen loading
  • sediment loading
  • copper in sediments
  • mercury in sediments and
  • PCBs in sediments.

Interestingly, and positively, phosphorous is not shown as being quite as serious a non-point polluter as the above categories, though it certainly still falls into a second category of seriousness for nonpoint pollution sources.

These maps are a fascinating and useful way to present environmental information and to indicate where some prevention and remediation priorities should lie if the Great lakes are to be restored to a more sustainable state in line with swimmable, drinkable, fishable objectives.

The data and maps are available at http://www.greatlakesmapping.org/ Drill down through the various pages for lots more information. The authors state that the site does not work well with Internet Explorer and suggests Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari as the best web browsers for viewing the maps.

One response

  1. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day.
    It’s always exciting to read articles from other writers and use something from other sites.

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