Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI)

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Since 2002, environmental organizations from the United States and Canada have teamed up each year to assess conditions in one of the five Great Lakes. This program is called the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI). Each year, the survey focuses on a series of research areas, such as phosphorus and nitrogen input and movement through the food web, phytoplankton and zooplankton populations, and fish diet and distribution. The research areas are tailored to the unique challenges and data needs associated with each lake. CSMI partners include federal and state agencies, tribal groups, non-governmental organizations and academic researchers. USGS works with CSMI partners and supports these efforts through scientific research and by providing opportunities for CSMI partners to conduct additional sampling efforts on USGS research vessels during scheduled trips on each of the lakes. Learn more at greatlakesseagrant.com 

You can also view a presentation for more information: Partnering for Monitoring and Research Across the Great Lakes: The Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative

USGS activities under the CSMI can vary by lake based on need.  Below are examples of USGS CSMI activities by lake during the recent 5-year cycle.

Lake Ontario CSMI Long Term

                     Click photo to enlarge. (Public domain.)

Lake Ontario (2018):

  • Lower food web monitoring
  • Baseline nutrient and contaminant concentrations in select tributaries
  • Quantifying Cisco and Bloater habitat use

Lake Huron (2017):

  • Lower food web monitoring
  • Linking fish to lower trophic level variability
  • Assessment of round goby abundance and distribution
  • Assessment of piscivore diets

Lake Superior (2016):

  • Lower food web monitoring
  • Baseline nutrient and contaminant concentrations in select tributaries
  • Pelagic fish monitoring and assessment
  • Benthic monitoring and assessment

Lake Michigan (2015):

  • Lower food web monitoring
  • PCB and mercury concentrations in select tributaries

Lake Erie (2014):

  • Lower food web monitoring
  • Central basin hypoxia monitoring

For more detailed information please contact Jon Hortness at Hortness@usgs.gov