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Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative for Lake Ontario

The Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI) is a binational effort to coordinate enhanced monitoring and research activities across the Great Lakes to address specific science priorities for each lake, which are established by the Lake Partnerships under the Lake-wide Management Annex of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). 

For CSMI field years, the Lake Partnerships identify priority areas where additional science and monitoring efforts are needed to provide the best information for managers to make lake-wide management decisions.


2023 CSMI Lake Ontario — Field Year Prospectus (PDF)
This Prospectus highlights a subset of the extensive binational collaborative muti-agency efforts occurring throughout 2023, specifically the: lower food web sampling, water quality and nutrients monitoring efforts, coordinated glider deployments, chemical contaminants monitoring, and fish population assessments. 

An overview of select one-year targeted projects and program enhancements that address science priorities are also summarized, including projects funded through the US Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). 

Additionally, the Great Lakes Research Consortium (GLRC) Small Grants Program put out a call for proposals to address CSMI 2023 priorities and funded three projects led by academic institutions. Read on >>

CSMI Science Priority Planning Workshop — 2023 Report (PDF)
This report summarizes the 2-day virtual workshop on “Research Priority Planning for Lake Ontario” held June 28-29, 2021.

The primary goal of the workshop was to identify science priorities for the 2023 intensive sampling field year of Lake Ontario, following the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI) five-year rotation.

This workshop was part of the CSMI priority-setting process and builds on the 2018-2022 Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP).

CSMI Lake Ontario — 2018 Report (PDF)
The following is an executive summary of the 2018 research results from Lake Ontario and the associated white paper containing reports with more specific information on individual research projects. These results represent primarily GLRI-funded efforts by US partners.

A main goal of the Lake Ontario Partnership in setting the 2018 Lake Ontario CSMI priorities was to collect information to improve understanding of nutrient loading impacts and aquatic invasive species impacts on water quality and the aquatic food web at a lake-wide scale to inform management decisions, including the 2020-2021 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) Nutrients Annex review of phosphorus substance objectives for Lake Ontario.

The scope of the 2018 CSMI priorities included the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the Upper St. Lawrence River.


Video Series

#1: Why CSMI: A U.S. / Canadian Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative for Lake Ontario [Transcript (PDF)]

Scientists have learned a great deal about the Great Lakes over the past several decades by doing long-term studies and monitoring. To get a better understanding of this complex system the United States and Canada committed to a collaborative, binational scientific effort in the Great Lakes in 2002. 

The effort is known as the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative, or CSMI. CSMI rotates from lake to lake on a 5-year cycle and aims to promote, organize, and unify different research and monitoring efforts by local, state, provincial, federal, First Nations, academic, and non-governmental groups. 

The objective is to provide the best information possible to help develop Lakewide Action and Management Plans under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

#2: What Lies Beneath: The Base of Lake Ontario's Food Web [Transcript (PDF)]

#3: What's Near The Top: Balancing Lake Ontario Fisheries’ Predator-Prey Connections [Transcript (PDF)]

Fact Sheet Series

International Efforts to Study and Understand the Great Lakes Ecosystem

#1: Lake Ontario (PDF)

#2: Nutrients and Invertebrates (PDF)

#3: Fish and Fisheries (PDF)

#4: Monitoring Change Across Space and Through Time (PDF)

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