Centennial Study Expected to Provide New View of Great Lakes Contamination
Excerpts from Dec 7, 2018 article by Jennifer Boehme

More than 100 years ago, concerns about the connection between disease and sewage pollution triggered the International Joint Commission's (IJC) first-of-its-kind study of transboundary water contamination between 1912-14.
The Great Lakes basin today faces numerous water quality challenges impacting drinking water sources and recreation, as well as public recognition that the lakes should be protected. A variety of identified problems include nonpoint sources such as stormwater and agricultural runoff, as well as sewage blending facilities and combined sewer overflows (CSOs). These sources contribute E.coli bacteria and pathogens, nutrients, as well as pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern, resulting in issues surrounding the safety of recreational and drinking waters.
These ongoing water quality challenges have led to the public questioning how all of this affects their health. Many sites along the shoreline also require restoration and protection (including Areas of Concern) and major investments in restoration have been made by federal, state and local governments, with the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement continuing to lead the binational approach.
Key questions have emerged as these restoration projects moved forward, including:
  • Is nearshore water quality getting better or worse?
  • What is the source of changing nearshore water quality?
  • What are the public health risks associated with changing nearshore water quality?
To answer these questions, the IJC's Health Professionals Advisory Board (HPAB) will undertake a comparison project incorporating data and locations in the Great Lakes and connecting waterways from IJC's 1913 study, and include Lake Michigan in the analysis.
Read more about the IJC study here.
And did you know...
At the turn of the twentieth century, residents in the St. Clair and Detroit River watershed faced the consequences of repeated epidemics of typhoid fever caused by untreated human waste. Deaths averaged 85 per 100,000 people between 1888 to 1905. Learn more about the fascinating history of pollution in the Huron-to-Erie corridor in Jim Bloch's article in The Voice .
Happy World Wetlands Day!
On Saturday, we celebrated wetlands as natural solutions in adapting to, and reducing the impacts of climate change! Wetlands play a significant role in the Detroit River watershed by providing places for many species to rest, feed and breed. They also help minimize erosion along the banks and shorelines of the river. Wetlands act as water filters by removing nutrients and sediments from runoff, help stabilize the water table and the local climate as well as offer recreational opportunities like hunting, fishing, bird-watching and exploring. 

Many organizations, agencies, and private landowners partner to help to protect and restore coastal wetland habitat in priority areas of the Detroit River such as the marshes in Canard River, Turkey Creek, along the channel and on Fighting and Peche Islands.   
Have Your Say in the Gordie Howe Bridge Community Benefits Initiatives
The Gordie Howe International Bridge project will include a Community Benefits Plan that will have a positive impact on communities in Windsor and Detroit and reflect what our stakeholders have told us is important to them. Since 2015, more than 230 suggestions for community benefits were submitted by Ontario and Michigan residents, Indigenous Peoples, business owners and community and municipal leaders.
WDBA's private-sector partner, Bridging North America, has prepared a list of potential community benefits for further consultation prior to the finalization of the Community Benefits Plan. This will ensure the Neighborhood Infrastructure Strategy reflects the uniqueness of the host communities and meets the request for community feedback on the final selection of initiatives. 

Essex Region Conservation Honours Award Winners
Eight organizations and individuals were honoured with Essex Region Conservation Awards for their efforts in making the Windsor/Essex/Pelee Island region the Place for Life.
"It's always inspiring to learn more about those who have made tangible contributions to our regional environment," said Chair Irek Kusmierczyk.  "By moving forward, together, with committed organizations and individuals like those we honour tonight, we will ensure that our region remains the Place for Life". The honourees included:   
  • Just Fishin' Friends -Volunteer Organization Award for their dedication in providing learn to fish opportunities to residents across the region, to help them learn more about native fish species and the Great Lakes .
  • St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic High School -Education Award for more than two decades of educating students about our environment, and inspiring them to action through greening, cleanups, invasive species removals, and Monarch protection.
  • Laura Monforton -Dennis Chase Staff Award for her dedication, conscientiousness, kindness and compassion to colleagues, customers and partners through a variety of roles at ERCA, including tree planting and restoration, events and outreach, and protecting sources of drinking water as the region's Risk Management Official/Inspector.
A full copy of ERCA's Annual Report and corresponding video, as well as the Conservation Award Winners, can be found at  www.essexregionconservation.ca.

Ontario's Endangered Species Act is Under Review
Over 200 species of plants and animals are classified as species at risk in Ontario. A 10th year review of Ontario's Endangered Species Act is being undertaken by the Ontario Government in order to improve protections for species at risk.

To read the 10th Year Review of Ontario's Endangered Species Act: Discussion Paper, as well as provide comment, click 

The review period closes on March 4, 2019. 

Funding Available Under the Sustain our Great Lakes Program
Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL) is a public-private partnership created to address the threats of invasive species, pollution, and habitat loss in the Great Lakes basin.  

Its mission is to "sustain, restore, and protect fish, wildlife, and habitat in the basin by leveraging funding, building conservation capacity, and focusing partners and resources toward key ecological issues". One way  the Sustain Our Great Lakes program accomplishes this is by awarding grants for habitat restoration and enhancement.  

Currently, the Sustain Our Great Lakes program is soliciting proposals to benefit wildlife, fish, habitat, and water quality in the Great Lakes basin.

Pre-Proposal Due Date: February 12, 2019
Full Proposal Due Date: April 19, 2019

For more information on Sustain Our Great Lakes funding opportunities, please click here.
Research Opportunities for Faculty and Students at the Belle Isle Aquarium
If you're looking for a field laboratory in the Great Lakes region with research university resources close by and  access to wetland, river, and lake environments then Belle Isle Aquarium Field Research Laboratory may be the place for you.

Some of the lab features include facilities for DNA extraction and real-time PCR, field equipment, fluorescence microscopy and an agarose gel electrophoresis system.  

Arrangements to use the research facilities and organisms at the aquarium can be made by qualified faculty and students. Inquire to the Director of the Belle Isle Aquarium Field Research Laboratory, Dr. Jeffrey Ram, at [email protected] or (248)200-9431. 

For more information about the research being conducted at the Belle Isle Aquarium Field Research Laboratory, click here.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!   
The Detroit River and Great Lakes in the news. Here are some links to articles that may pique your interest. Click the link  to read on.  
Upcoming Events  
Save the date for these great local events! Contact the organizer for more information. 
Family Day at Point Pelee  
Monday February 18, 2019, Point Pelee National Park Visitor Center, 10 am to 5 pm, 1118 Point Pelee Drive, Leamington, ON
Join us for fun activities for the entire family!
Bringing Conservation to Cities: the Story of the Detroit River Wildlife Refuge 
Friday February 15, 2019, 12pm, McPherson Lounge, University of Windsor, 750 Sunset Avenue, Windsor, ON.  
Presented by John Hartig, visiting scholar with the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research. Luncheon cost is $22 per person. To reserve a spot please call 519-253-3000 ext. 3430.
Owl Prowl  
Various Dates, Point Pelee National Park, 1118 Point Pelee Drive, Leamington, ON
Discover who, who, who's out there on an evening adventure with a park interpreter. Join us on February 15 at 7pm, February 16 at 7pm and 9pm, and on February 17 at 7pm.
Essex County Nature Meeting
Wednesday February 13th, 2019, 7:30pm, Ojibway Nature Centre, 5200 Matchette Road, Windsor, ON.  
Join us in welcoming Vic Bernyk, from Native Trees and Plants Nursery! 
Native Trees and Shrubs Winter Identification Walk
Sunday February 17th, 2019, Ojibway Nature Centre, 5200 Matchette Road, Windsor, ON, 2pm
Native Trees and Shrubs in Winter Identification Walk/workshop lead by Dave Kraus on Sunday February 17, 2019 at 2pm at the Ojibway natural area.  Meet outside of the Ojibway Nature Centre by the parking lot (remember to hide valuables and lock your cars!).  We will leisurely walk some of the trails, observing wildlife and learning some simple clues that are helpful in distinguishing some of our locally native trees and shrubs when they are leafless.  Binoculars will be helpful for both wildlife and tree identification.
Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee Meeting
Thursday February 21, 2019, 9am to 11am. Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Flynn Pavilion - Near Intersection of Picnic Way & Loiter Way, Belle Isle, Detroit, MI, 48207
Please see website link for past agendas, meeting minutes, and additional information here. 

The Detroit River Canadian Cleanup is a partnership between government, industry, academics, as well as environmental and community organizations that work together to improve the Detroit River ecosystem through a Remedial Action Plan. Our goal is to remove the Detroit River from the list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.