Water quality work expands with the addition of a new specialist

Understanding and protecting water quality in our major waterways is critical, especially when it comes to nutrient pollution, runoff, and the effects they can have on our waterways. IISG is stepping further into this role with our latest staff addition, Michael Brennan

Michael is a water quality outreach specialist, a position that combines work for IISG and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center. Specifically, Michael will be working on the implementation of an interactive geospatial application that will offer insight and facilitate analysis of nutrient pollution and additional water quality conditions in the Mississippi River basin. The application’s features and available data will allow researchers, communities, and decision makers to better manage and protect water quality. 

Michael has previously worked with the U.S. EPA as an Oak Ridge for Science and Education Fellow and has a Master’s in environmental science from Indiana University.


New curriculum brings Buffalo River cleanup work into the classroom

Last month, IISG’s Caitie McCoy held a workshop for teachers in the Buffalo River area of New York to debut a new curriculum, “Helping Hands: Restoration for Healthy Habitats.” This latest edition is specific to the Buffalo River area of concern, and offers a direct link to important environmental projects that are taking place in the students’ community. 

The Great Lakes Legacy Act remediation project on the Buffalo River resumed June 16, and will remove 500,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the river, then replace native aquatic plants to help restore the local ecosystem. 

18 teachers from grades 4-11 attended the workshop to learn more about the restoration project and the curriculum, and were treated to hands-on activities and a tour of the river area to help bring the project and its impacts into their classes. 

“It’s great to see so many educators come out to this kind of workshop,” Caitie said. “Many teachers want to incorporate place-based learning in their science curriculum, but may lack resources to do so. Now instead of using distant examples like rainforests to teach science, they can use their neighborhood rivers and lakes. These are places that students can visit and experience the science in person. They develop a love for these places and want to protect them.”

The first version of the curriculum, which deals specifically with the remediation and restoration of the Roxana Marsh area (part of the Grand Calumet River area of concern), is also available at our website.


Former intern Lainey continues environmental education and hands-on work

It’s been two years since we launched our summer internship program, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Our interns did great things at IISG—educated boaters on AIS prevention, investigated community perceptions of sediment remediation projects, installed a real-time buoy in Lake Michigan, and more. But their impressive work didn’t end with the summer. Several are now in graduate programs, including law school. Some moved on to internships focused on Great Lakes monitoring and renewable engineering. And a few have even stayed at IISG. 

To celebrate the program’s two-year anniversary, we go back to where it all began with a four-part series showcasing our first round of interns—what they did and where they are now. First up, Lainey Pasternak. 

What did you work on while interning with IISG?

I worked with the aquatic invasive species (AIS) team at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I designed and conducted a survey to help investigate the prevalence of AIS preventative behaviors among boaters and anglers, a key demographic in the effort to prevent the spread of AIS. By the end of the summer, I formulated a formal research report and academic poster presentation based on the final results of my survey. All efforts in the research and poster presentation were done in collaboration with my internship supervisor and co-author, Sarah Zack. In September 2012, I presented my research at the Illinois Water Conference at the University of Illinois and received a student scholarship and honorable mention award. Among the 30 registered students in the poster competition, I was one of two to receive a conference award and the only undergraduate to receive any mention.

What did you like most about your internship?
My summer internship marked the beginning of my environmental science and research career. There are many different aspects of the internship that really made it a memorable and influential experience. Working one-on-one with the AIS team, I took part in their mission and service to communities in Illinois and Indiana. Throughout the summer, I was able to contribute to the rebranding of their outreach program, IISG staff meetings and webinars, and educational presentations at the Environmental Protection Agency, Brookfield Zoo, Cook County Forest Preserves, and Chicago Botanic Gardens. I was also able to formulate and conduct my own research design, survey collection, data analysis, and scientific presentation. I really enjoyed having central ownership on my project and learned so much about independent scientific research. Lastly, the experience allowed me to give back to the community. Over the summer, I met and talked to over 650 people about AIS and the actions they could take to stop their spread into the Great Lakes. I gained valuable experience on communicating complex environmental issues to local communities. 

What are you doing now?
This June, I started graduate school at the University of Notre Dame, where I am working towards an M.S. in biology. Through a fully funded research assistantship, I am working in Dr. Jessica Hellmann's Global Change Ecology Lab. My thesis project is on the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly's response to climate change and natural resource management at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. 

How did your time with IISG help prepare you for your graduate work?
Through the IISG summer internship program, I was able to gain firsthand experience with research and environmental problem solving. Not only did my project prepare me for internships and research throughout the rest of my undergraduate career, it will also give me perspective on my next independent research opportunity in graduate school at Notre Dame. Working with the incredibly hard-working people at IISG, I learned a lot about working as a team towards a common goal or set of objectives. This skillset will help immensely in my work with other graduate students, lab technicians, and undergraduates in my new research position with Dr. Hellmann.

What advice would you have for future IISG interns or those considering applying?
I believe working with IISG can open doors to your future professional careers in research, natural resources, or environmental science. I was immersed in an atmosphere of beneficial networking and active learning that has greatly prepared me for proceeding job opportunities and graduate school. For those admitted into the internship program, I encourage you to invest your summer in the project, environmental issue, and co-workers around you. Don't be afraid to ask for help and try to become an expert. Also, throughout the internship, begin to think and ask yourself if this work or field of study is something you would want to make into a career for yourself. By doing these things, you will surely find professional, scholarly, and personal success through the IISG internship program.
For the latest information on fellowship and internship opportunities, visit our fellowship page regularly.


Pollution prevention and pharmaceutical disposal efforts grow with specialist addition

Adrienne Gulley has joined the team as IISG’s pollution prevention outreach specialist. Adrienne works with communities to establish and promote medicine take-back programs. Her efforts help boost awareness of the impacts of pharmaceutical pollution and the role proper disposal plays in protecting water quality and aquatic habitats. 

Adrienne has a Master’s in agricultural communications from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she also worked as an academic advisor and instructor. She also has experience as a scientific writer for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and as a marketing producer at a CBS affiliate in Indianapolis.


U.S.-Canadian coalition urges ban on microplastics in cosmetics

Representatives from both the U.S. and Canada, serving as advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, have passed a resolution calling on governments at the state, provincial, and federal levels to ban the sale of cosmetics or personal care products that contain microplastics. 

From the committee of advisors: 
"Advisors noted that the cosmetic and personal-care product industry produces many facial scrubs, body washes, toothpastes and other products that contain tiny plastic abrasives called 'microbeads.' These multicolored, very small, buoyant pieces of plastic are rinsed down the drain, passed through wastewater treatment plants, and discharged into waters. The first open water survey of the Great Lakes for plastic, conducted in July 2012, found some of the highest concentrations of microplastic ever recorded on earth, and microbeads from personal care products made up the majority of microplastic under 1 millimeter in size."
Read the complete resolution here for more information, and visit our Unwanted Meds webpage for additional details on the importance of properly disposing of pharmaceuticals and personal care products.


Students see hands-on work in bloom at Roxana Marsh

Two years ago, a group of middle school students planted native seedlings along the banks of Roxana Marsh to celebrate the successful cleanup of the waterway. On Monday, those same students returned for another day of learning and service to find the marsh in bloom – thanks in large part to their efforts.

“It’s good to know that we did something phenomenal to help our environment,” said Sandra Olivarria, one of the East Chicago Lighthouse Charter School students participating in the event.

Monday morning’s stewardship began with speeches from state and local officials, including Indiana Representative Earl Harris, Senator Lonnie Randolph, and Mayor Anthony Copeland of East Chicago.

“We need to start to get everyone involved in this kind of project at an early age so that when you grow up, you become part of something that keeps you involved for the long term,” Representative Harris said.

The rest of the day was devoted to hands-on activities that encouraged students to get familiar with the plants and animals inhabiting the area. The class looked at native and non-native plant species growing around the marsh, then checked on the flowers they had originally sprouted in their classroom. The kids worked together to pull up the invasive clover that had grown around their plantings – a little tricky at times, they said, but “pretty fun, too.”

“It feels so good to come back and see what we did two years ago, and see it all grown and restored!” one student exclaimed.

Down by the water, volunteer scientists helped students take samples of mud from the marsh to collect bottom-feeding aquatic animals that lived there. The students identified various species of worms, snails, larvae, and tadpoles, and were delighted at the chance to handle these small creatures.

The class also cleaned up trash from the marsh and along Roxana Drive, helping to beautify the area.

“I’m really proud of all the work the students performed today,” said IISG environmental social scientist Caitie McCoy. “It was thrilling to have them come back and take care of a beautiful environment that they helped create. Today, nature was our classroom, and I think the students learned a lot.”

Roxana Marsh is now home to blue herons, wild irises, and all sorts of aquatic life. But it wasn’t always that way. Located on the Grand Calumet River, the marsh was heavily polluted for more than a century with byproducts of heavy industry around East Chicago. Federal and state agencies worked to dredge the river, removing contaminated sediment and restoring the surrounding habitat as part of the U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes Legacy Act.

Monday’s restoration activities and press event brought together partners from the US EPA Great Lakes National Program Office, US Fish and Wildlife, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, The Nature Conservancy, and Shirley Heinz Land Trust. The Roxana Marsh cleanup and Caitie’s work to improve community engagement here and at other Areas of Concern is possible because of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

Teachers interested in integrating AOC issues into their classroom can find activities and other resources in our Helping Hands curriculum.  


Two IISG projects chosen as APEX 2014 award winners

The APEX awards are given each year by Communication Concepts to recognize outstanding publication work in a variety of fields, and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant projects were selected this year for awards in two categories. 

Laura Kammin and Anjanette Riley of our Unwanted Meds program received an award in the category of Green Writing for their edition of UpClose with researcher Rebecca Klaper. The UpClose series interviews professionals working in the pollution and water quality fields to learn about the latest discoveries and projects related to pharmaceuticals and personal care products. 

Additionally, Sarah Zack, Pat Charlebois, and Jason Brown were awarded in the Green Campaigns, Programs & Plans category for their work on our “Be A Hero – Transport Zero” campaign and messaging, and for the www.TransportZero.org website. The campaign is designed to show boaters, fishermen, and other recreational water users how simple it can be to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species between water bodies. 

These projects are just two of the many that IISG continues working on to help the public learn about, protect, and preserve Lake Michigan and waterways throughout the two states. To learn more, visit our website.


Aquatic nuisance species committee releases guidelines to prevent AIS spread

IISG’s Pat Charlebois and Sarah Zack were members of a committee on recreational water use, and Pat co-chaired a committee on water garden guidelines, both aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) through these two pathways. The committees recently completed their report, Voluntary Guidelines to Prevent the Introduction and Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species; Recreational Activities and Water Gardening, which provides guidelines for recreational water users and water gardeners to follow. 

The steps listed include cleaning, draining, and drying all recreational equipment (boats, vests, trailers, etc.) following a day on the water (for recreational water users), and purchasing/planting native plants or properly disposing of unwanted specimens (for water gardeners). 

There are more simple steps outlined in the two documents that can help prevent the spread of invasive species through these two pathways, as well as information about the importance of protecting waterways and native ecosystems. Visit the links above to read the complete reports, and visit our “Be A Hero – Transport Zero” and “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” webpages for additional information. 

*Note: This post originally listed Pat Charlebois as a co-chair of the recreational water users committee and omitted Sarah Zack's participation. The text has been corrected. 


Center for Great Lakes Literacy recognizes Illinois teacher

The efforts of an Illinois teacher to bring Great Lakes science into the classroom were brought center stage in the latest edition of Teacher Features, a monthly online series that showcases outstanding educators in the Great Lakes region. 

Eileen DeJong, a teacher at Suak Village’s Rickover Junior High, is one of 14 teachers from Illinois and Indiana who learned about local aquatic ecosystems and ideas for hands-on stewardship activities at last summer’s B-WET workshop. In this edition, she talks about the importance of raising awareness of Great Lakes issues, past classroom projects, and her plans for the future. 

1. Why do you think it’s important to infuse Great Lakes topics in education?
I think it’s important that I incorporate information about our Great Lakes into my teaching because our school is impacted in many ways by one of the Great Lakes (Lake Michigan). Students respond to information that makes sense to them and that affects their life, and because Lake Michigan is so close to us (within 45 minutes); it’s a great way to get students involved in current environmental issues. We can study about aquatic invasive species affecting Lake Michigan and then GO TO Indiana Dunes, for example, and conduct experiments there. Or … even closer to home, we can study about invasive species harming our local forests, and then GO TO nearby forest preserves and volunteer. It’s all about making connections. Studying the Great Lakes topics make science REAL for my students and helps foster natural curiosity about their surroundings. It is also important because the problem of invasive species is a current environmental issue, and it’s happening in our own backyard. It encourages my students to become knowledgeable about factors affecting their living environment and to become activists for change.
Continue reading at the link above.  
Teacher Features is part of the Center for Great Lakes Literacy’s (CGLL) ongoing efforts to boost awareness of issues facing the Great Lakes watershed and inspire greater community stewardship. The group is led by Sea Grant educators throughout the region and conducts numerous teacher trainings each year, including the annual Shipboard Science workshop.   

To learn more about CGLL and its resources for teachers and non-formal educators, visit www.cgll.org.


Sea Grant programs receive funding to tackle dangerous currents

It’s beach season once again in southern Lake Michigan, and the rip current warnings have already begun. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued at least one advisory since Illinois and Indiana beaches opened last month asking beach-goers to think twice before taking a dip in the lake. And for good reason. Rip currents and other dangerous currents are the biggest threat to Great Lakes swimmers. Roughly 140 people have drowned in the lakes over the last 12 years due at least in part to dangerous currents. And most of those incidents happened in Lake Michigan. 

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant hopes to bring these numbers down with a new outreach effort that will raise awareness about dangerous currents in the Great Lakes. The “Implementing Dangerous Currents Best Practices” project was recently awarded funding from the NOAA Coastal Storms Program

A collaborative effort Sea Grant programs in Michigan and Wisconsin, the project will include print and online resources—including educational videos—that introduce the science behind rip currents,  provide tips for avoiding them, and explain what to do if you or others are caught in one. Many of these resources will be available in both English and Spanish. 

Watch for further information on these outreach efforts and rip currents in the coming months. In the meantime, you can find tips for staying safe at the beach this summer at dangerouscurrents.org

“Implementing Dangerous Currents Best Practices” continues years of efforts by Great Lakes Sea Grant programs, NOAA, and NWS to reduce dangerous currents drownings across the region. To learn more about these efforts, visit Rip Current Safety.


Illinois Clean Marina Program celebrates one year and six marinas

The Illinois Clean Marina Program celebrated its one year anniversary last month by certifying DuSable Harbor as the newest clean marina—bringing the state total to six.

The harbors earned their clean marina status by implementing a series of best management practices that make marina operations more efficient and environmentally friendly. Practices cover a range of topics—everything from marina construction to vessel maintenance to waste handling. Most are easy and affordable, such as watering plants deeply but infrequently and encouraging boaters to share excess paint instead of storing or disposing of it improperly. Others help marina personnel educate and train boaters on what they can do to protect habitats and improve water quality.  

Two more marinas, North Point Marina and Diversey Harbor, have also pledged to implement these same practices. To do so, they will rely on the Illinois Clean Marina Guidebook developed by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, along with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Chicago Park District (CPD).

In addition to outlining best practices, the guidebook provides important information on laws and permit programs, connects readers with additional resources, and includes clean boating tip sheets that can be distributed to boaters. Illinois DNR also provides training and support as marinas work their way through the certification processes.  

Marina managers interested in joining DuSable Harbor, 59th St. Harbor, Burnham Harbor, Monroe Harbor, Waukegan Harbor, and 31st St. Harbor as clean marinas can contact IDNR’s Kim Kreiling at 312-814-6260 or kim.kreiling@illinois.gov.

Illinois is one of six states in the Great Lakes region with a volunteer program that empowers boaters and marina personnel to preserve habitats and prevent pollution.  The Illinois program was developed by IDNR, CPD, IISG, and representatives from the marina industry. Funding for the program and guidebook comes from a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant.


Weather effects of El Nino to be felt even in the Midwest

Summer and winter may look a little different this year. The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is reporting warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean along the equator, which could mean big things in the Midwest and around the world.

The global weather phenomenon is known as El Nino. It occurs every few years when a giant band of water in the tropical Pacific Ocean becomes unusually warm. This sets off a chain reaction of weather events that have historically resulted in severe droughts in portions of India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and South America. In contrast, El Nino often brings heavy rains to the West Coast. 

The effects are a little milder in the Midwest, which is likely to see cooler summers and winters with less snowfall. Some parts of the region might even have better corn and soybean yields thanks to the milder temperatures. 

El Nino events are difficult to predict, and there is no guarantee we will experience one this year. A recent advisory from the Climate Prediction Center, though, puts the chance of El Nino as high as 80 percent. 

Keep an eye on the developing El Nino with weekly updates from the National Weather Service. And for more information on climate trends and changes in the Midwest, visit the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

*Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service. 


Workshop for Indiana teachers this Saturday brings local environmental issues into the classroom

IISG’s Caitie McCoy and Leslie Dorworth will be leading a stewardship and place-based learning workshop June 14 for teachers in and around the Grand Calumet River area in Indiana. The free workshop offers educators a chance to develop lessons, projects, and additional material related to the restoration efforts on the Grand Calumet, as well as the local ecology and the importance of the river to the region. 

The workshop, titled “Broadening Stewardship to Advance Place-Based Learning along the Grand Calumet River,” is open to teachers and non-formal educators working with students in grades 4-11. Presentations and activities will offer ways to incorporate local ecology and natural resource information about the northwest Indiana area into their science lessons. There will also be material about the history of the river and the progress that has been made in the remediation project. 

The workshop takes place June 14 at Purdue University Calumet, from 9:00-2:30. Lunch is provided. For more information, visit the link above for the workshop flyer, and contact Caitie McCoy with questions or for additional details.


In the news: Asian carp could be promising fish food according to recent research

Asian carp could be processed into a fish meal and combined with soybean meal to make a sustainable and effective feed option for fish farming operations. 

"Aquaculture, an expanding, protein-hungry industry, needs to develop alternate feed sources, according to (Jesse) Trushenski. The growing scarcity of wild anchovies and sardines increases the costs of marine-based fish meal and impacts ocean ecosystems. Soybean meal is a proven, renewable alternative, but using just soybean meal in place of fish meal affects the growth and health of some carnivorous species.

'Previous SIU research established Asian carp meal as equal to or better than marine-based fish meal in aquaculture diets, and helped set standards for using soybean meal in aquaculture,' Trushenski explains. 'We took our understanding of protein for carnivorous fish feed a step further by demonstrating synergies between local protein sources – soybeans and invasive fish.'

The research trial formulations used 25 percent soybean meal and 18 percent Asian carp meal, proteins readily available in the Midwest. A new carp rendering plant in Grafton, Ill., will boost availability of Asian carp meal, and demonstrates the ripple effect this solution can have on rural economies."
Read the complete article at the link above. 

*Dr. Trushenski is an associate professor at Southern Illinois University. IISG has funded some of her previous research efforts looking into fish meal options.


Lake Michigan buoy returns to nearshore waters with upgrades for the season

The Michigan City buoy returned to the nearshore waters of Lake Michigan on June 5—this time with an upgrade that boaters, anglers, and researchers have been eagerly awaiting. In addition to broadcasting real-time data on wave height and direction, wind speed, and air and surface water temperatures, the improved buoy now relays water temperatures at different depths.

The sensor chain, which measures water temperatures approximately every 3 ft. from the surface to the bottom of the lake, will help kayakers know when the water is warm enough to paddle out and make it easier for anglers to find and catch their favorite fish. A more comprehensive picture of nearshore water temperatures is also vital for research on fisheries and nearshore hydrodynamics.   

“We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback asking us when the buoy will be in the water again,” said Carolyn Foley, IISG assistant research coordinator. “And they’re all excited to hear that we’ve added a temperature chain to our setup. The nearest buoy with a similar chain is about 30 miles away.”   

Real-time data will be available on IISG’s website until the buoy is pulled out for the winter in mid-October. The site currently shows snapshots of lake conditions—updated every 10 minutes—as well as trends over 24-hour and 5-day periods. Buoy-watchers can also download raw historical data at NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center.

Later this summer, IISG will be hosting a workshop designed to help educators develop science, math, and stewardship projects using the real-time buoy data. The workshop is scheduled for August 6 at Purdue University North Central.

The Michigan City buoy is owned and operated by IISG and Purdue University Department of Civil Engineering. Funding for the new temperature sensor chain is provided by a grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program.


In the news: Forecast calls for very cold Lake Superior water this season

With the harsh winter behind us, things on the Great Lakes should be warming up for summer. But thanks in part to the harsh winter's extensive ice cover, Lake Superior’s surface water temperature is predicted to be its lowest since 1979. 

"In a follow-up to evaporation studies funded by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center, a federally funded collaboration between U-M and Michigan State University, Lenters and his colleagues developed a map-based water-temperature forecasting tool called SLATE, which stands for Seasonal Lake Temperature Energetics model.

The experimental model was used to generate the Lake Superior forecast and may later be used to create similar surface-water temperature forecasts for all five Great Lakes—possibly even evaporation forecasts. SLATE is believed to be the first map-based forecasting tool that shows anticipated variations in surface-water temperature from place to place across one of the Great Lakes.
The Lake Superior forecast is expected to be of interest to swimmers, boaters, anglers and others who will be affected by chilly water temperatures not seen since perhaps as far back as 1979.

'If you're planning to go swimming in Lake Superior this summer, you should probably stay close to shore,' said Peter Blanken, a co-investigator from the University of Colorado.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Marquette has already expressed interest in using the Lake Superior forecast to help plan summer search-and-rescue operations. And a long-distance swimmer who is planning a trek from Milwaukee to Chicago in Lake Michigan this summer has also asked about water temperature forecasts."
Read more about the temperature forecast as well as predictions about Lake Superior’s water levels at the link above.


IISG aquatic invasive species coordinator among ISAM award winners

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s Pat Charlebois was one of the professionals selected for this year’s ISAM awards. Recognizing outstanding invasive species work in the state of Illinois, the awards are an annual opportunity to highlight just some of the many important projects dedicated to protecting Illinois’ land and water from invasives. 

"In 2011, the ISAM committee decided to initiate an awards program to formally recognize and honor outstanding contributions to the prevention, control, and management of invasive species in the state of Illinois. For 2014, The Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month Committee would like to recognize recipients in five categories: Professional of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Professional Organization of the Year, Business of the Year, and Educator of the Year. Recipients of the 2014 ISAM awards were officially recognized at an awards ceremony in Springfield at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) office. IDNR Office of Resource Conservation Director Jim Herkert was on hand to present the awards. The ceremony was part of the 2014 Illinois Invasive Species Symposium on May 29th, 2014 at the IDNR Office Building in Springfield, IL… 

Pat is receiving this award for her leadership in aquatic invasive species education, outreach, messaging, and policy throughout the state. Pat’s hard work has contributed significantly to increasing the public’s awareness of aquatic invasive species. Through her efforts, the new 'Be a Hero, Transport Zero' campaign is being expanded towards a comprehensive campaign to address all invasive species spread throughout Illinois. In addition, Pat has been instrumental in supporting policy changes, such as the addition of 27 new aquatic plants to the Illinois Injurious Species list."
Read about the other award recipients and their work protecting Illinois’ environment at the link above.


Sea Grant programs collaborate on Great Lakes marine debris plan

Sea Grant programs from many of the Great Lakes states collaborated with researchers and NOAA on developing a new, first-of-its-kind action plan to address land-based marine debris. 

"The action plan provides scientists, governments, stakeholders, and decision makers a road map for strategic progress to see that the Great Lakes, its coasts, people, and wildlife are free from the impacts of marine debris. It centers around a mission to combat debris through an increased understanding of the problem, preventative actions, reductions in impacts, education and outreach, and collaborative efforts from diverse groups.

Marine debris is more commonly thought of as an ocean problem, but the Great Lakes region, with its complex system of habitats, wetlands, rivers, and tributaries, is also affected. This plan focuses on debris generated on land, which is often blown, swept, or washed out into the lakes. It comes from littering, dumping in rivers and streams, storm water discharges, poor waste management practices, and industrial losses during production, transportation, and processing."
Follow the link above for the complete story, and read the entire action plan on the NOAA Marine Debris website.