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Water: Planning

Definitions/Contacts for FY 2011 National Water Program Guidance Measures - Subobjective: Improve the Health of the Great Lakes

 

Measure Code: 4.3.3

Measure Language: Improve the overall ecosystem health of the Great Lakes by preventing water pollution and protecting aquatic ecosystems.

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

Measure Definition

Methodology for computation of results: The Great Lakes Index uses assessments of the condition of select ecosystem indicators (i.e., coastal wetlands, phosphorus concentrations, Areas of Concern (AOC) sediment contamination, benthic health, fish tissue contamination, beach closures, drinking water quality, and air toxics deposition) to assess the overall condition of the Great Lakes.  The assessments use best professional judgment to assign a 1 to 5 rating for each indicator, where 1 is poor and 5 is good.  This results in an overall "universe" of a 40 point scale.

Measures under EPA's Great Lakes annual performance goal assess the overall progress U.S. environmental programs are making in protecting and restoring the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Improvements in the index and measures would indicate that fewer toxics are entering the food chain; ecosystem and human health is better protected; fish are safer to eat; water is safer to drink; and beaches are safer for swimming.

Units: Points on the scale

Universe: 40 point scale

Baseline: 20 points on the 40 point scale (FY 2005)


 

Measure Code: SP-29

Measure Language: Cumulative percentage decline for the long term trend in average concentrations of PCBs in Great Lakes fish.

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact: Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases:  PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls, a type of contaminant. 

 

Methodology for computation of results: This measure is part of the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program (GLFMSP).  The Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) is the principal source of data for the GLFMSP.  The Program was created to: (1) determine time trends in contaminant concentrations, (2) assess impacts of contaminants on the fishery using fish as biomonitors, and (3) assess potential risk to the wildlife that consumes contaminated fish.  The whole fish element includes data from ten 600-700 mm lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) whole fish composites (5 fish in each composite) from each of the lakes.  Since sufficient lake trout are not found in the western basin of Lake Erie, data for 400 – 500 mm walleye (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) are used for that Lake. Each Great Lake is a unique environment with a distinct growth rate, food web, and chemical integrity.  For this reason, a direct comparison of annual concentrations between basins is not appropriate.  However, a basin-wide cumulative percent decline from the year 2000 can be determined using an exponential decrease function on all data between 1990 and the most recent data available.  The variability in the data is caused by the intra-lake uniqueness of each lake trout and walleye community.

The percent decrease of Element 1 can be calculated and compared to the 5% reduction target to determine if the target has been met.  All years of data from all lakes are plotted on the same graph, with each year containing 5 data points.  An exponential decrease is then found for the entire data set and the percent decrease is calculated from the best fit line.  The EPA Great Lakes National Program Office rounds the calculated value to the nearest whole percentage for reporting and comparison purposes.  The Lake Michigan data set represents the worst case scenario in the Great Lakes Basin for the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring Program.

The Program collects and monitors contaminants in Great Lakes fish at alternating locations throughout the Great Lakes Basin; fish are collected at one set of sites during even years and at another set in odd years. The element for this measure began with the collection of data in Lake Michigan in 1972 and the additional lakes were added in 1976.

In FY 2011, the database will contain quality reviewed field data from fish collected in 2009 and all quality reviewed analytical data for fish collected between 1972 and 2009. Data collected in 2009 is expected to be able to be used for reporting in 2011. Data are reported on a calendar year basis and are specific to the even or odd year sampling schedule (even year sites are only compared to other even year sites etc.)

Units: Decline in PCBs

Universe: n/a: The universe represents all that is likely possible to protect, restore and enhance.

 

Baseline: 0% (FY 2005)

 


 

Measure Code: SP-31

Measure Language: Number of Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes where all management actions necessary for delisting have been implemented (cumulative)

Type of Measure: Indicator measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases:

o    A de-listing indicates that the area now meets the public's vision for that area and that it is no longer among the most polluted areas in the Great Lakes.

o    Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) areseverely degraded geographic areas within the Basin. They are defined by the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (Annex 2 of the 1987 Protocol) as "geographic areas that fail to meet the general or specific objectives of the agreement where such failure has caused or is likely to cause impairment of beneficial use of the area's ability to support aquatic life." Additional information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/index.html   

Methodology for computation of results: This measure uses information from the Great Lakes National Program Office.  Of the universe of 31 U.S. and Bi-national Areas of Concern, none were restored and de-listed in the baseline year of 2005.  One has been de-listed since then, in 2006, thus the cumulative total is 1.  De-listing of an AOC requires a determination that all beneficial uses at the AOC are not impaired.  Each AOC may have up to 14 beneficial use impairments (BUI).

Units: Areas of Concern (AOCs)

Universe: 31 AOCs that are likely possible to protect, restore and enhance.

Baseline: 1 AOC (FY 2005)



Measure Code: SP-32

Measure Language: Cubic yards (in millions) of contaminated sediment remediated in the Great Lakes (cumulative from 1997).

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

Measure Definition

Methodology for computation of results: This measure totals the cumulative volume of contaminated sediments remediated in the Great Lakes since 1997, the first year for which this information was collected. The Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) collects sediment remediation data from various State and Federal project managers across the Great Lakes region that conduct and coordinate contaminated sediments work.  These data are obtained directly from the project manager via an information fact sheet the project manager completes for any site in the Great Lakes basin that has performed any remedial work on contaminated sediment. The data collected to track sediment remediation in the Great Lakes show the amount of sediment remediated (dredged, capped, other) for that year, the amount of sediment remediated in prior years, and the amount of sediment remaining to be addressed for a particular site.

Data tracking of sediment remediation is compiled in two different formats.  The first is a matrix that shows the annual and cumulative totals of contaminated sediment that were remediated in the Great Lakes basin in the reporting year and from 1997 for each Area of Concern or other non-Areas of Concern with sediment remediation.  The second format depicts the yearly and cumulative totals on a calendar year basis graphically.  These databases are reported approximately one year after the completion of work, thus, results from calendar year 2010 remediation will be reported in FY 2011.

Units: Million cubic yards

Universe: The universe of contaminated sediments requiring remediation in the Great Lakes is believed to have been approximately 46 million cubic yards in 1997.

Baseline: 3.7 million cubic yards cumulative total in calendar year 2004 (reported FY 2005).


 

Measure Code: GL-5

Measure Language: Number of beneficial use impairments removed within Areas of Concern. (cumulative)

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

Measure Definition

Additional information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/index.html

Terms and phrases: 

  • An impaired beneficial use means a change in the chemical, physical or biological integrity of the Great Lakes system sufficient to cause any of the following:

·         restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption;

·         tainting of fish and wildlife flavor;

·         degradation of fish wildlife populations;

·         fish tumors or other deformities;

·         bird or animal deformities or reproduction problems;

·         degradation of benthos;

·         restrictions on dredging activities;

·         eutrophication or undesirable algae;

·         restrictions on drinking water consumption, or taste and odor problems;

·         beach closings;

·         degradation of aesthetics;

·         added costs to agriculture or industry;

·         degradation of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations; or

·         loss of fish and wildlife habitat.

 

  • Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) are severely degraded geographic areas within the Basin. They are defined by the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (Annex 2 of the 1987 Protocol) as "geographic areas that fail to meet the general or specific objectives of the agreement where such failure has caused or is likely to cause impairment of beneficial use of the area's ability to support aquatic life." Additional information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/index.html

    

Methodology for computation of results: This measure tracks the cumulative total Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) removed within the 26 Areas of Concern (AOC) located entirely within the United States and the 5 AOCs that are shared by both the United States and Canada.  The States work with the local stakeholders in the AOC to develop delisting criteria for the impaired BUIs. The BUI de-listing criteria are used to assess when a BUI is restored and can be de-listed. After all BUIs in an AOC are de-listed, the entire AOC can be de-listed.

Restoration of U.S. or Bi-national AOCs will ultimately be measured by the removal of all beneficial use impairments, leading to de-listing of all of the U.S. or Bi-national AOCs.  A total of 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern have been identified: 26 located entirely within the United States; 12 located wholly within Canada; and 5 that are shared by both countries. 30 United States or Bi-national Areas of Concern remain. Remedial Action Plans for each of these AOCs address one or more of the 14 beneficial use impairments associated with these areas.

Units: Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs)

Universe: At the end of FY 2006, there was a total universe of 261 beneficial use impairments reported in the United States or Bi-national Areas of Concern

Baseline: The baseline was the total of 11 beneficial use impairments (FY 2005) that had been removed


 

Measure Code: GL-6

 

Measure Language: Number of aquatic nonnative species newly detected in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

 

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

 

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

 

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases:  Aquatic nonnative (non-indigenous) species includes aquatic, wetland, and coastal species. More than 180 species now exist in the Great Lakes,causing the degradation of habitat and adverse impact on native species and the food webs. 

 

Methodology for computation of results:  The Great Lakes have a long history of aquatic nonindigenous species (ANS) introductions – both intentional and unintentional. A number of ongoing federal programs are working to reduce the rate of introductions. The increased effort to address invasive species through GLRI funding will reduce the rate of introductions. During the ten-year period prior to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (2000-2009), thirteen new invasive species were discovered within the Great Lakes. This is a baseline rate of invasion of 1.3 species per year. Changes in the rate will be assessed by extending this cumulative average into the time period of the GLRI (2000-present).   

 

This methodology assumes that the detection of invasive species in the environment correlates with actual invasion rates. It is recognized that there can be lag time in discovery (discussed in more detail under error estimate). This performance measure also assumes that rate of detection is directly reflective of the GLRI effort. Because the Great Lakes ecosystem receives the input of a number of vectors that introduce invasive species -- including, live organisms in commerce, canals/waterways, ballast water, and recreational and resource users activities -- the results of the GLRI effort cannot be measured independently from the suite of other ongoing programs at work in the Great Lakes.

 

Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System (GLANSIS) functions as a Great Lakes specific node of the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) national database. Information entered for GLANSIS automatically appears in NAS. GLANSIS provides targeted access to the information – especially collection records – for established Great Lakes nonindigenous species in the NAS Database. The list of aquatic nonindigenous species found via GLANSIS is subject to constant revision based on the following criteria:  (a) Geographic criterion, (b) Aquatic criterion, (c) Nonindigenous criterion, and (d) Established criterion.

 

Units: Number of Species, Average species/year

 

Universe: 181 non-native species detected in the Great Lakes basin.

 

Baseline: 1.3 species/year is the starting rate of invasion (FY 2009).

 


 

Measure Code: GL-7

 

Measure Language: Number of multi-agency rapid response plans established, mock exercises to practice responses carried out under those plans, and/or actual response actions (cumulative).

 

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

 

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

 

Measure Definition


Terms and phrases:  

  • Multi-agency rapid response plans are location-specific or species-specific plans that describe how multiple government agencies will initiate surveillance activities to detect new Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) and establish the capacity, methods and contingency plans for a rapid response. The principle plans supporting these actions are the State ANS Management Plans created under the Aquatic Nuisance Species Prevention and Control Act. State ANS Management Plans are approved by the (National) Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force as a requirement to obtain funding under Section 1204 of the ANSPCA. Implementation of these State ANS Plans will result in a comprehensive multi-state agency program to address the problems caused by aquatic invasive species. Joint planning will allow the mobilization of shared resources to create the best opportunity for eradicating species before they become established.
  • Mock exercises range from "table top" discussions to fully-simulated drills in which individuals and agencies establish appropriate responses to a fictional scenario. Mock exercises provide a cost-effective method for testing response plans in advance of an actual detection of an invasive species.
  • Rapid response actions are those intended to eradicate a population of invasive species or reduce the population to as close to zero as possible so that the population cannot become established and self-sustaining. Rapid response actions can push back the front line of invasion; remove strategic pockets of an infestation, and/or target removal efforts at an ecologically and/or economically significant area.

 

Methodology for computation of results:  The cumulative total number plans developed and exercises/actions conduced will be calculated by simple summation using the GLRI Accountability System database.  This database will be developed pending approval of Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), currently in public comment phase. [EPA ICR No. 2379.01, OMB Control No. 2005–NEW].  As a condition of GLRI Interagency Agreements, Federal Agencies are required to track performance and submit data to EPA on this measure including work performed via subsequent contracting and granting arrangements.

 

Units: Number of Multi-agency rapid response plans. Number of rapid response exercises or actions.

 

Universe: n/a: The universe represents all rapid response plans that could be done and all exercises/actions which may be done in the Great Lakes. It is not practical to develop these numbers

 

Baseline: 0 Plans, 0 response exercises/actions (FY 2009)

 


 

Measure Code: GL-8

 

Measure Language: Percentage of beaches meeting bacteria standards 95% or more of beach days.

 

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

 

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

 

Measure Definition


Terms and phrases:  STORET is EPA's database on water quality data collected from various public water systems

 

Methodology for computation of results:  The data collected to track beach advisories and closures in the Great Lakes show the amount of water quality standards exceedances  (>235 E. coli cfu/100 ml of water) for each beach throughout the beach season (Memorial Day through Labor Day).  This format is suitable for year-to-year comparisons for individual beaches; however, it is not useful for comparing water quality at other Great Lakes beaches.  Monitoring frequencies vary among states and local entities from between once a week to seven days a week, so the minimally monitored beaches appear to have better water quality. 

 

EPA summarizes the previous swimming season's results and reports the information each year (around Memorial Day).  The report lists the number of beaches with notification actions, duration of notification actions, and what percentages of days beaches were under a notification action.  EPA calculates the total available beach days and the number of beach days with advisories or closures to track trends over time.  To calculate the total available beach days, EPA sums the length of each state's beach season multiplied by the number of beaches in the state. 

 

Local beach program and advisory data are stored in EPA's PRAWN (Program tracking, beach advisory water quality standards, and nutrient) database. Beach water quality data is stored in EPA's STORET database. Historical beach swimming season data can be viewed in EPA's BEACON database (Beach Advisory and Closing Online Notification system) which can be accessed at: http://oaspub.epa.gov/waters10/beacon_national_page.main. EPA collects coastal beach monitoring and notification data from States that receive BEACH Act grants to implement beach monitoring and notification programs.   These data are obtained directly from the Great Lakes beach managers who submit their data to their state beach program managers throughout the beach season.  The state beach managers then send the data electronically to EPA by January 31 of each year, as required by the BEACH Act.

 

Units: Beaches

 

Universe: 100% The universe represents all Great Lakes beaches that are likely possible to protect, restore, enhance, etc.

 

Baseline: 86% is the starting point for the measure (FY 2006).

 


 

Measure Code: GL-9

 

Measure Language: Acres managed for populations of invasive species controlled to a target level (cumulative).

 

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

 

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

 

Measure Definition

 

Terms and phrases:   

  • Acres managed is total geographic area addressed by a management action, recognizing that most invasive species infestations will vary in their percent coverage.
  • Invasive species refer to nonnative species that tend to overtake and exclude native species. During typical restoration efforts, invasive species are specifically targeted along with other nonnative species, so that native species are restored.
  • Target level is the end-state desired by management agencies. The typical goal of management at site-specific locations is to reduce invasive species to levels as close to zero as possible. There may be limitations given the control techniques available for the targeted species. More extensive species-specific management programs, such as the Sea Lamprey control program, have regional targets for eradication.

 

Methodology for computation of results:  The cumulative total number acres will be calculated by simple summation using the GLRI Accountability System database. This database will be developed pending approval of Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), currently in public comment phase. [EPA ICR No. 2379.01, OMB Control No. 2005–NEW].  As a condition of GLRI Interagency Agreements, Federal Agencies are required to track performance and submit data to USEPA on this measure including work performed via subsequent contracting and granting arrangements.

 

Units: Acres

 

Universe: n/a: the universe represents all possible acres which could be treated in the Great Lakes.

 

Baseline: 0 (FY 2009)

 


 

Measure Code: GL-10

 

Measure Language: Percent of populations of native aquatic non-threatened and endangered species self-sustaining in the wild (cumulative).

 

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

 

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

 

Measure Definition

 

Methodology for computation of results:  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Fisheries Information System (FIS), a component of the Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS) maintains the performance database for this measure. The Service's Fisheries Program is the principal source of data for the FIS.  Cooperating organizations include other federal agencies, states, Tribes, and non-governmental partners that assist with population assessment and monitoring.

 

The FIS Populations Module provides information on what is known about populations of aquatic species (i.e., status, trend, geographic location, management plans, etc.) and has broad scientific utility.  Population data are updated annually in FIS to reflect most recent population and habitat assessment information, and are reported on an annual basis (September of the fiscal year) to the Department of the Interior, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress in the Service's Operational Plan.

 

Units: Native aquatic non-threatened and endangered species

 

Universe: 147. The universe represents all that is likely possible to protect, restore, and enhance native aquatic non-threatened and endangered species.

 

Baseline: 39/147 (27%) (FY 2009)

 


 

Measure Code: GL-11

 

Measure Language: Number of acres of wetlands and wetland-associated uplands protected, restored and enhanced (cumulative).

 

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

 

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013


Measure Definition

 

Methodology for computation of results:  EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) will track the cumulative total of acres of wetlands and wetland-associated uplands protected, restored and enhanced at the end of each Fiscal Year beginning in Fiscal Year 2010.

 

Internal tracking and communications with the following federal agencies: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Geological Service (USGS), Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), U.S.D.A. Forest Service (FS), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and Federal Highways Administration (FHWA).

 

Each agency mentioned (in the paragraph above), will provide information about cumulative wetlands and wetland-associated upland acres protected, restored and enhanced by agency staff, grantees, and contractors. Information will be input to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Accountability Database. GLNPO will compile and distill information into a yearly GLRI report.

 

Units: Acres of wetlands and associated uplands

 

Universe: 550,000. The universe represents all acres of wetlands and wetland-associated uplands that are likely possible to protect, restore and enhance.

 

Baseline: 0 (FY 2005)

 


 

Measure Code: GL-12

 

Measure Language: Number of acres of coastal, upland, and island habitats protected, restored and enhanced (cumulative).

 

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

 

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

 

Measure Definition

 

Methodology for computation of results:  EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) will track the cumulative total of acres of coastal, upland, and island habitatsprotected, restored and enhanced at the end of each Fiscal Year beginning in Fiscal Year 2010.  Internal tracking and communications with the following federal agencies: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Geological Service (USGS), Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), U.S.D.A. Forest Service (FS), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and Federal Highways Administration (FHWA).  Each agency mentioned (here) will provide information about cumulative coastal, upland, and island habitats acres protected, restored and enhanced by agency staff, grantees, and contractors. Information will be input to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Accountability Database. GLNPO will compile and distill information into a yearly GLRI report.

 

Units: Acres of coastal, upland and island habitats

 

Universe: 1,000,000. The universe represents all acres of coastal, upland and island habitats that are likely possible to protect, restore, and enhance.

 

Baseline: 0 acres of coastal, upland and island habitats (FY 2005).

 


 

Measure Code: GL-13   

 

Measure Language: Number of species delisted due to recovery.

 

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

 

Measure Contact:  Michael Russ, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
russ.michael@epa.gov | (312) 886-4013

 

Measure Definition

 

Methodology for computation of results:  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Threatened and Endangered Species System (TESS) and Recovery Online Activity Reporting system (ROAR) are both components of the Service's Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS) (see reference below).   Databases provide current reports of all federally listed animals and plants, as well as recovery plan information (i.e., plan access, action status, etc.) The Service's Endangered Species Program is the principal source of data. Cooperating organizations include other federal agencies, states, Tribes, and non-governmental partners that assist implementation of recovery actions. Before a plant or animal species can receive protection under the Endangered Species Act, it must first be placed on the Federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. To delist a species, the Service is legally required to determine that threats have been eliminated or controlled, based on several factors including population sizes and trends and the stability of habitat quality and quantity. The number of species delisted are reported annually in ECOS (September of the fiscal year) and to the Department of the Interior, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress in the Service's Operational Plan. The numbers of species delisted are reported as a cumulative metric. Delisting determinations are based on several complex factors (see reference), including annual and cumulative.

 

Units: Number of species delisted due to recovery

 

Universe: 28 species possible to delist due to recovery.

 

Baseline: 0 species delisted (FY 2005).

 


 

Measure Code: GL-14

 

Measure Language: Number of Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes where all management actions necessary for delisting have been implemented (cumulative).

 

For measure contacts and other details see SP-31.

 

GL-14 is a new measure for FY 2011; SP-31 was changed to an indicator for FY 2011.

 

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