The U.S. EPA rates coastal conditions of the Great Lakes as “fair to poor” in this report, National Coastal Condition Report II – Great Lakes Chapter. An excerpt appears below. To read the full report, click on the link at the bottom of the page.
“The overall condition of the Great Lakes is fair to poor, based on the Great Lakes Index (Figure 7-1). The Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) has been monitoring the open waters of the Great Lakes (approximately 94,250 square miles) annually since 1983. It has collected water and biota biannually from specified water depths from a limited number of locations in each of the five Great Lakes. This monitoring effort was designed to provide data to (1) assess the state of water quality in open lake basins (more than 100 feet in depth or more than 3 miles from shore); (2) detect and evaluate trends and changes in chloride, nitrate nitrogen, silica, phytoplankton, total phosphorus, chlorophyll a, and Secchi disk depth; (3) verify or modify water quality models; and (4) estimate the trophic index for each lake. The GLNPO also sampled sediments from select shallow and deepwater locations to characterize benthic communities. Other specialpurpose sampling programs focused on known or suspected problem areas, such as the Great Lakes AOCs and rivers and harbors, to determine, for example, whether contamination was increasing or decreasing in sediments and whether remediation efforts were feasible and effective….”