Restoring and Protecting The Great Lakes
To help achieve the goal of restoring and protecting the waters of the Great Lakes under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), the United States and Canada agreed upon the development and implementation of five Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs). LAMPs, as described in Annex 2 of the 2012 GLWQA, are plans of action that involve assessing, restoring, protecting, and monitoring the ecosystem health of each Great Lake and its connecting river system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) coordinates the development and implementation of the Lake Michigan LAMP efforts, working with federal, state, tribal, and other partners. IDEM coordinates Indiana’s portion, in concert with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and other state and local partners.
Lake Michigan LAMP Overview Presentation
IDEM has developed an overview presentation [PDF] of the Lake Michigan LAMP Program and the State of the Lake. Hoosiers wishing to provide suggestions for how to improve the presentation are encouraged to contact IDEM.
Program Vision And Goals
The Lake Michigan LAMP program envisions a sustainable Lake Michigan ecosystem that ensures environmental integrity and that supports, and is supported by, economically viable, healthy human communities. In order to realize that vision, the LAMP aims to restore and protect the integrity of the Lake Michigan ecosystem through collaborative, place-based partnerships. In other words, the Lake Michigan LAMP has a strong focus on geographic and ecosystem goals and solutions to problems impacting the lake.
The overall Lake Michigan LAMP goal is further broken down into 12 subgoals, which are stated as questions:
- Can we eat any fish?
- Can we drink the water?
- Can we swim in the water?
- Are habitats healthy, naturally diverse, and sufficient to sustain viable biological communities?
- Does the public have access to abundant open space, shorelines, and natural areas, and does the public have enhanced opportunities for interaction with the Lake Michigan ecosystem?
- Are land use, recreation, and economic activities sustainable and supportive of a healthy ecosystem?
- Are there sediment, air, land, and water sources; or pathways of contamination that affect the integrity of the ecosystem?
- Are aquatic and terrestrial nuisance species prevented and controlled?
- Are ecosystem stewardship activities common and undertaken by public and private organizations in communities around the basin?
- Is collaborative ecosystem management the basis for decision-making in the Lake Michigan basin?
- Do we have enough information, data, understanding, and indicators to inform the decision-making process?
- What is the status of each of the 33 Lake Michigan subwatersheds?
Answering each question in the LAMP requires an understanding of the history of Lake Michigan, careful monitoring of its current conditions, and the development of tools and programs to address concerns. Through a collaborative effort, LAMP project managers focus on meeting the program goals by monitoring the changing environmental conditions and adapting management strategies.
U.S. EPA drafts the Lake Michigan LAMPs with input from the states, tribes, and other federal agencies. IDEM staff sit on both the Management Committee and the Working Group of the LAMP Partnership and help to develop the documents. Each version of the LAMP provides a snapshot of the status of each of the 12 subgoals at the time of drafting. Between full LAMP releases, U.S. EPA also coordinates the development of annual updates. These updates highlight work conducted around the lake under the program during the last year.
A lot has changed since the last full LAMP was developed in 2008. Under the 2012 GLWQA, the Lake Michigan LAMP partners are to develop the next LAMP by 2019. One new aspect under development is the inclusion of Lake Ecosystem Objectives (LEOs). The LEOs, once completed, will form a benchmark against which to assess trends in water quality and ecosystem health for the Lake Michigan basin.
LAMP at Work in Indiana
A grant through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) provides support to Indiana’s LAMP program. This LAMP Capacity Grant enables IDEM to work with many partners to address the LAMP goals and implement LAMP-related projects within the Lake Michigan basin. Among other programs, the Indiana LAMP program helps support:
- Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program (LMCP):
- The LMCP supports the protection and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources in the Lake Michigan region. It provides grants and technical resources to local, state, and federal agencies and organizations. It also conducts public outreach and education about topics such as septic systems and nonpoint source pollution prevention, topics critical to advancing LAMP goals.
- LAMP funds support several IDNR staff who work to coordinate nonpoint source pollution efforts with the LAMP goals. They also support natural, historic, and cultural heritage presentations given by the Indiana Dunes State Park Naturalist.
- W.G. Jackson Educational Boat Tours:
- The W.G. Jackson is a scientific research and public education vessel, based out of Muskegon, Michigan. IDEM LAMP funds regularly support the vessel’s sampling and education efforts at various Indiana ports.
- In 2017, W.G. Jackson Tours were conducted on June 12 and 13.
- Lake Michigan Beach Monitoring and Notification Program (Beach Program):
- The Beach Program provides funding to pay for daily water quality monitoring of coastal beaches during the recreational season.
- The Beach Program also provides public notification of water quality advisories and closures via signage, the BeachGuard website, and cellphone apps.
- LAMP funds support program outreach and best management practices, which, in turn, reduce nonpoint source pollution into Lake Michigan.
- IDNR Invasive Species Program:
- LAMP funds specifically support the development and implementation of an invasive species rapid response plan at Indiana Dunes State Park.
- Indiana Watershed Management Plans:
- LAMP funds provide technical and planning assistance to local watershed groups. They also promote LAMP goals by supporting participation in the Urban Waters Federal Partnership. The following Watershed Management Plans have been funded and approved by IDEM’s Nonpoint Source Grant Program and written by locally-led watershed groups.
- Indiana Clean Marina Program:
- The Clean Marina Program, a collaborative effort by IDEM, IDNR, marinas, boatyards, yacht clubs, and recreational boaters, aims to reduce potential environmental impacts associated with marinas and recreational boating.
- Designated Clean Marinas have voluntarily adopted a series of pollution prevention standards. They are required to recertify membership annually and undergo an inspection by IDEM every three years.
- LAMP funds are used, in part, to support the Clean Marina Program goals.
- Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor Ship Canal Area of Concern Remedial Action Plan (RAP):
- The RAP Program, laid out in Annex 1 of the 2012 GLWQA, is a collaborative effort by IDEM; IDNR; U.S. EPA; and other federal, state, and local partners to identify and remediate environmental problems in the Area of Concern (AOC).
- The RAP Program’s goal of intensively removing 12 remaining Beneficial Use Impairments affecting the AOC fits within the LAMP’s more general, lakewide framework. Thus, the LAMP Program’s work to implement best management practices, reduce nonpoint source pollution reduction, combat invasive species, and support watershed management planning efforts also assist with this effort.
- Lake Michigan Monitoring Coordinating Council (LMMCC):
- The LMMCC was formed in 1999 to coordinate, standardize, and support the monitoring needs of the Lake Michigan LAMP.
- The Council consists of the following members:
- Eight state agency members from the environmental management and natural resource agencies of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin;
- Eight federal agency members, including U.S. EPA, USGS, USFWS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, the National Park Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service;
- One LAMP Partnership member;
- One member from the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI); and,
- Other interested parties.
- Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC):
- The GLFC was established by the 1955 binational Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries. The commission coordinates fisheries research, controls the invasive sea lamprey, and facilitates cooperative fishery management among the state, provincial, tribal, and federal management agencies.
- LAMP funds support Indiana’s representation on the Council of Lake Committees, Council of Great Lakes Fishery Agencies, Lake Michigan Committee, and the Lake Michigan Technical Committee of the GLFC.
Please contact IDEM for more information about the Lake Michigan LAMP Program.
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