Science and Research

Recognizing the importance of science when guiding decision making, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers committed in the Agreement to providing leadership for the development of a collaborative strategy with other regional partners to strengthen the scientific basis for sound water management decision making. 

Furthermore, Article 209 commits the States and Provinces to undertake a periodic assessment of cumulative impacts that may result from individually minor but collectively significant withdrawals, diversions and consumptive uses taking place over a period of time.  

Finally, the Regional Body and Compact Council hosts a session at the International Association for Great Lakes Research annually to share information on research related to water quantity in the Great Lakes Basin. Those interested in participating in this year’s session in Winnipeg, Manitoba  in this session can find further information on the session at as item number 37.  Information on how to submit an abstract can be found at: Abstracts are due January 24.

Science Strategy

Regional Body and Compact Council Science Strategy

The Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Regional Body (Regional Body) and Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact Council (Council) adopted a new science strategy at their December 11, 2019 semi-annual meetings. This science strategy addresses the research needs to assist the Regional Body and Council to implement Great Lakes water management. The science strategy highlights a variety of needs and challenges related to improved water quantity data collection; improved tools for management decisions regarding water use consumptions, conservation and efficient use; and overarching issues such as climate change, indigenous engagement and outreach. The science strategy identifies priority actions that include a focus area for each of the next three years.

  • 2020 – Estimating consumptive use
  • 2021 – Great Lakes water quantity, improving measurement and estimation of the Great lakes water budget components
  • 2022 – Water conservation and water use efficiency in the Great Lakes region

The Regional Body and Compact Council encourage researchers to consider this science strategy as they pursue their research agendas and to share related research with us.

Science Team Meetings

Pursuant to the Science Strategy adopted by the Regional Body and Compact Council, the Science Team will meet from time to time to discuss the implementation of the Science Strategy and share best practices.  In addition, information from these meetings will be shared on this website.

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 must perform a cumulative impact assessment.  To date, two "major" cumulative impact assessments have been completed. 

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

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


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


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 sessions at the annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research.  An overview of the sessions can be found here.