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Review Notes for Exam #2- Geography 2011.docx

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Western University
Geography 2011A/B
Wendy Dickinson

Notes for Institutions and Rules for the Environment of the Great Lakes Author M SprouleJones Remedial Action Plans RAPs are designed with an ecosystem principle in mind Essentially this means that the interdependencies between users and uses of the basin ecosystem must be acknowledged and included in planning objectives and actionso Also included in the plan must be the interconnections between air and land and the water with which they share the environment in AOCs Early studies in Canada focused on point source regulations and rules of national governments International AgreementsBoundary Waters Treaty 1909o Established after American revolution o Split jurisdiction over the lakes but retained exclusive British jurisdiction over the lower St Lawrence International Waterways Commission 1905o Purely investigatory and advisory bodyo Recognized need for body with a authority to make limited binding decisions on any use of boundary waters that affected levels and flows on either side o Resulted in Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and establishment of the International Joint Commission IJC IJC consisted of six commissioners three appointed by the President of the US and three by the United Kingdomo After the 1929 treaty of Westminster by the government of Canada o Still relatively powerless no power to enforce either the treaty or its own orders o It may advise govts on matters referred to it for consideration 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and US serves as a major example of the IJCs advisory role o Has administrative role in regards to the two trans boundary rivers the St Marys and the Milk River Two rivers are to be considered one and shared equally between the two countrieso Also has power to arbitrate between two countries but has never been exercised govts prefer to resort to conventions IJC exerts its power through its reputation as an objective nonpartisan authority that relies on the best scientific adviseo Gains power from its ability to mobilize large numbers of scientific experts from both sides of the border to staff its advisory committees In summary The commission has been created to serve the Canadian and the United States governments by assisting them in avoiding and resolving contentious or potentially difficult issues The Commission fulfills this role by responding to References and by deciding on Applications for Approval to use obstruct or divert boundary waters and transboundary rivers Foundation of the Great Lakes Water Quality AgreementAs early as 1912 the Can And US Govts asked the IJC to examine the general extent of pollution in the Great Lakes and make specific recommendations for the St Marys St Clair Detroit Niagara and St Lawrence Rivers Main concern was effect of waterborne diseases such as cholera Water disposal continued to be a problem until the eutrophication of Lake Erie captured public attention in the 1960s GLWQA of 1972 came after several IJC studies on the GLso Focus on cleanup began in 1960 when IJC appointed two joint investigative boards for Lake Erie Ontario and the St Lawrence river o Boards made up of technical people from all different levels of government and reports emphasized nutrient loading especially phosphorous as cause for eutrophicationo In 1965 IJC reported phosphorus as cause for eutrophication and regulatory limits needed but Ontario and some American governments were unwilling to consider such measures o The two boards established were The International Lake Erie Water Pollution BoardThe International Lake OntarioSt Lawrence Water Pollution Boardo 1969 final report from these technical boards was reported to the IJC Stated that Erie Ontario and the international section of the St Lawrence was being polluted especially by phosphates and other nutrients o In 1970 first ministeriallevel meeting devoted to the Great Lakes pollution problem US unwilling to take necessary measures to reduce pollution Reason being based on the assimilative capacity of the waters set out in the 1909 treaty Canada would only require minimal cutbacks on their pollution measures meanwhile the US would have to institute drastic pollution control measureso In 1971 after significant Canadian diplomatic pressure the two countries agreed to establish a joint working group that would examine the present programs and the possible need for a great lakes water agreement Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 1972o In this agreement IJC was responsible for collecting and analyzing information on objectives and programs for verification of data that had been collected in the 1969 Lakes Erie and OntarioSt Lawrence studyo Major studies subsequently completed on all lakeso Main strategy used to reduce nutrient inflow involved improving municipal sewage treatmento Between 19721978 about US 10 Billion was spent on upgrades o Effect on water quality was immediately and readily apparento Between 196885 phosphorus concentrations in Erie declined at high detectable rates o Similarly annual surveys from 19731986 indicated comparable rates of decrease in phosphorus loadings in Lake Ontario Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 1978o The 1978 GLWQA shifted the emphasis away from excess nutrient loadings and towards control of toxic substanceso Extended mandate to cover all five great lakes and their tributaries rather than just Erie and Ontario o Maintained basic structure of 1972 agreement Joint water quality objectives and standards were set commitments to implement control programs were made and the IJC mandate of monitoring progress was revamped and continued More stringent standards were set across the board with regard to water qualityo New concept was introduced The Great Lakes basin ecosystemo Defined as The interacting components of air land water and living organisms including man within the drainage basin of the St Lawrence River at or upstream from the point at which this river become the international boundary between Canada the USo Essentially an ecosystem is a system of interacting components both physical and biological that exhibit some degree of internal linkage and an implied boundaryo The 1978 GLWQA states the restoration and enhancement of boundary waters cannot be achieved independently of the restoration and enhancement of those parts of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem with which the waters interacto It attempts to eliminate any substances that may be detrimental to the quality of the watero Also adds more responsibility for both governments because the bounded field of policy includes the basinwide watershed of the Great Lakes and the multifarious relationships that affect it both within and withouto GLWQAs specific objectives specify the minimum levels of water desiredo These levels are set forth in quantitative terms such as concentrations of particular substances within the Great Lakes system Idea is to protect the most sensitive uses of watero Water quality is classified into chemical physical microbiological and radiological properties Chemical properties section is further divided into persistent toxic substances both organic ex DDT and inorganic ex metals lead Nonpersistent toxic
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