A collaboration of the Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham, Maine, the Great Lakes Commission based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the project is the product of a binational, scientific synthesis sponsored by the Commission through its Great Lakes Air Deposition Program, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"One of our core missions is to support the policymaking process with good science," says Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission. "This report represents a wealth of scientific knowledge developed by some of North America's leading experts in this field. It portrays the most accurate and well-documented picture yet of the impact of mercury contamination on the Great Lakes environment."
The research details how mercury pollution is changing over time. "When we analyzed lake sediments, we were surprised to see such a strong connection between mercury loadings to the region and mercury emissions in the region," says Charles Driscoll, Ph.D., University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering at Syracuse University and co-principal investigator on the project. "We documented a 20 percent decline in sediment mercury deposition from peak values around 1985. This decline was concurrent with a 48 percent decline in mercury emissions from sources in the Great Lakes region and a 17 percent increase in global emissions, clearly illustrating the benefit of controlling domestic emissions. It is likely that additional national and regional air emission controls would result in further declines in mercury contamination of the Great Lakes region as well as other areas of the U.S. and Canada." Among other findings, the report points out that the northern reaches of the Great Lakes region are particularly sensitive to mercury and that, despite improvements, fish mercury concentrations remain above the EPA human health
|Contact: Deborah McKew|