Panel releases list of factors for Great Lakes health

CREATED Jun 4, 2014

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A U.S.-Canadian panel has developed a list of 16 factors that could be used to monitor how well the two nations are carrying out an agreement to clean up and protect the Great Lakes.

They are listed in a report released this week by the International Joint Commission, which advises both federal governments on issues involving shared waterways.

Canadian acting chairman Gordon Walker says the list is a vital tool to help determine whether the lakes are getting healthier. Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the U.S. and Canada have pledged to restore and maintain the lakes.

The proposed list of factors includes physical characteristics such as wetlands and coastal habitat, chemical indicators such as phosphorus and levels and toxins in fish, and biological indicators such as invasive species.