The Great Lakes presently are exhibiting symptoms of extreme stress from a combination of sources that include toxic contaminants, invasive species, nutrient loading, shoreline and upland land use changes, and hydrologic modifications (Bails et al. 2005). Many of these sources of stress have been impacting the lakes for over a century. Others such as invasive species and nutrient runoff are generally viewed as the dominant issues of today, and still others such as climate change and emerging chemicals of concern may be the critical issues of the future. Although the Great Lakes ecosystem is resilient, its future health is uncertain.
This course offers a thorough examination of relationships between these sources of stress, ecosystem response, and management actions and how these issues affect ecosystem health, water security, and sustainability. The course brings together experts in Great Lakes science, management and policy development to examine the scientific principles that govern ecosystem dynamics together with the historical and present-day efforts to manage and protect this vital resource.