Science and Research

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers are working together to strengthen the scientific basis for water management decision making.  

The Regional Body and Compact Council have jointly adopted a Science Strategy (en français) that describes their scientific research priorities.  They continually seek the best science and data, and each year host a session at the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) meeting to share ideas and information.

Science Strategy

Regional Body and Compact Council Science Strategy

Stratégie scientifique du Conseil régional et du Conseil du Pacte 

The science strategy of the Regional Body and Compact Council includes a focus area for each of the next three years.

2020 – Estimating consumptive use

2021 – Great Lakes water quantity and improving measurement and estimation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence water budget components

2022 – Water conservation and water use efficiency in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region

The Regional Body and Compact Council encourage researchers to consider this science strategy as they pursue their research agendas, and share findings with the secretariat at


April 6, 2021 Webinar on Water Quantity and Water Budgets


  • Richard Niswonger, Research Hydrologist – U.S. Geological Survey
  • Martha Nielson, Hydrologist, Groundwater and watershed modeling team U.S. Geological Survey--Upper Midwest Water Science Center
  • Alain N. Rousseau, Professor at Québec’s National Institute for Scientific Research (Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, INRS)

December 15, 2020 Webinar on Consumptive Uses


  • Esteban Chiriboga, Environmental Specialist – Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission


November 4, 2020 Webinar on Consumptive Uses


  • Paul Martin, President, Aqua Insight, Inc. (Ontario).
  • John Balay, Manager, Planning and Operations, Susquehanna River Basin Commission.
  • Silivio José Gumiere, Professor, Laval University, Agriculture and Food Dept.
  • Robert Smail, Socio-Economic Research Scientist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Science Team Meetings

The Regional Body and Compact Council have created a Science Team of State and Provincial experts. The team meets annually to discuss Science Strategy implementation and share best practices.

September 14-15, 2019 Meeting of the Science team

Presentation by Drew Gronewold, University of Michigan

Presentation by Jim Nicholas, Nicholas-H2O

Presentation by Tom Crane, Great Lakes Commission

Cumulative Impact Assessments

At least every five years the Regional Body and Compact Council perform a comprehensive cumulative impact assessment of withdrawals, diversions and consumptive uses.  

Cumulative Impact Assessment 2011-2015 (December 8, 2017)

Cumulative Impact Assessment 2006-2010 (December 4, 2013)


Additional assessments may be performed from time to time, and can be found at the end of the annual water use reports created by the Great Lakes Commission, which can be found at


The Regional Body and Compact Council periodically commission reports to improve the understanding of Basin waters and how they are used.

June 17, 2020 Presentation by Drew Gronewold on Forecasting Great Lakes Water Levels Across Multiple Time Scales

Report on Changes in Withdrawals for Public Water Supply in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin, 1998-2018 (2020)

Report on the Potential Changes in Water Use Resulting from Retirement of Thermoelectric Power Plants in the Great Lakes Basin (2017)

IAGLR Sessions

The Regional Body regularly hosts a session at the annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research.  An overview of presentations made at past sessions can be found here.