Progress Toward Delisting a Great Lakes Area of Concern: The Role of Integrated Research and Monitoring in the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan
The goal of restoring environmental health and qualities to Hamilton Harbour Great Lakes Area of Concern, an embayment at the western end of Lake Ontario, is considered to be achievable by the year 2015. Restoring Hamilton Harbour is a dynamic process that relies heavily on research and monitoring to direct remediation efforts. Three principle means of coordinating this research and monitoring include: research and monitoring workshops; a monitoring catalogue outlining both government and nongovernment initiatives; and an annual report written by a local community group. These tools increase the effectiveness of remedial actions by: (i) improving stakeholders' ability to track trends; (ii) allowing program decision-makers to utilize adaptive management techniques to continuously modify programs based on new results; (iii) integrating interdisciplinary fields, and (iv) increasing accountability. This paper describes in detail these tools used for coordinating research and monitoring in implementing the Remedial Action Plan of the Hamilton Harbour Great Lakes Area of Concern, along with lessons learned to assist other implementers who are considering similar programs.