Article VI of the
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, 1972, requested
that the International Joint Commission inquire into and report on "pollution
of the boundary waters of the Great Lakes System from agricultural,
forestry and other land use activities, in accordance with the terms
of reference attached to this agreement". The
International Joint Commission
(IJC) established the International Reference Group on Great Lakes
Pollution from Land Use Activities (PLUARG) to plan and implement
the requested study.
The PLUARG study program consisted of four major tasks as
outlined in the Reference Group's February 1974 "Detailed Study Plan
to assess Great Lakes Pollution from Land Use Activities".
"TASK A is devoted to the collection and assessment
of management and research information and, in its later stages
to the critical analysis of implications of potential recommendations.
(See Task "A" Reports)
TASK B is first, the preparation of a land-use
and land-use practices inventory, largely from existing data,
and, second, the analysis of trends and projections in
land-use patterns and practices to 1980 and, if possible, to
2020. The present land use report is to be completed in
1974, and a report on trends to be completed in 1975. The Task
B report for the Canadian part of the Great Lakes Basin is contained
in five volumes: (See Task "B" Reports)
- Volume I Canadian Great Lakes Basin Summary
- Volume II Lake Superior Basin
- Volume III Lake Huron Basin
- Volume IV Lake Erie Basin
- Volume V Lake Ontario Basin
TASK C is the detailed survey of selected watersheds
to determine the sources of pollutants, their relative significance
and the assessment of the degree of transmission of pollutants
to boundary waters. See details of this Task below.
(See Task "C" Reports)
TASK D is to:
obtain supplementary information on the inputs of materials
to the boundary waters, their effect on water quality and
their significance in these waters in the future and under
alternative management schemes."
diagnose the degree of impairment of water quality in
the Great Lakes, including assessment of concentrations
of contaminants of concern in sediments, fish and other
aquatic resources. Activities during 1974 - 1976. (See
Task "D" Reports)
Task C Details: Task C is described as, "Intensive studies
of a small number of representative watersheds, as selected and conducted
to permit some extrapolation of data to the entire Great Lakes Basin,
and to relate contamination of water quality, which may be found at
river mouths on the Great Lakes to specific land uses and practices".
There were four primary activities under Task C, which are outlined
(Canada) of Task C called for "Pilot Agricultural Watershed Surveys".
The objective of this activity was "to obtain data on the inputs
of pollutants into the Great Lakes Drainage System which have their
origins in the complex land use activities known as agriculture".
The Agricultural Watershed Studies consisted of the monitoring
of 11 small (20-70 km2) agricultural basins selected
to represent major agricultural regions in southern Ontario, and
included a number of detailed studies in six of these. Descriptions
of these studies may be found in the Detailed Study Plan, Agricultural
Watershed Studies, Task C Activity 1, Canada, October 1975. During
the final phase of the program, individuals were identified as "integrators"
responsible for compiling information related to main parameter
group (i.e. phosphorus, nitrogen, sediments, heavy metals and pesticides)
and for livestock sources.
The Agricultural Watershed Studies (Task C - Activity 1 (Canada))
developed into a three-phase program with objectives as follows:
Phase I (Monitoring):
To measure the ambient concentration and loading rates
for various potential pollutants that occur with agricultural
Phase II (Detailed Studies):
To determine the effects of the soil, land use and associated
practices on ambient concentrations and loading rates of
selected pollutants from agriculture.
To derive information on the mechanics of transport and
storage of these pollutants within the selected agricultural
To develop relationships so that the information derived
can be utilized in a predictive sense and extrapolated to
Phase III (Remedial Measures):
- To develop remedial measures where significant problems are identified.
Activity 2: Forested Watershed Surveys. See
Plan and Progress Report by J. A. Nicolson, Great Lakes Forest
Research Centre, Environment Canada
Activity 3: "Study of pollution and the adequacy of controls related to
urban land development and use, transportation and utility systems,
sanitary landfill, processed organic waste disposal, wastewater
lagoons and irrigation systems, landfill, extractive industries,
private waste disposal and recreational land use".
Activity 4: "To determine the levels and quantities of major
and trace constituents including nutrients, pesticides and sediments,
reaching the Great Lakes".
Canadian Sub-Group 9: Pollution from Agricultural, Forestry and Conservation Sources.
Canada-US Joint Working Group on Great Lakes Pollution.
[1254 KB pdf]
Agricultural Pollution of the Great Lakes Basin (July, 1971)
Combined Report by Canada and the United States [1756 KB]
Task Force Report for Implementation of the Great Lakes
Water Quality Program (1973) Agriculture Canada.
(detailed discussion of issues with tables & figures)
Section 1: Pesticides [1063 KB pdf]
Fertilizer Nutrients and Animal Husbandry Operations [3068 KB pdf]
- More details of the PLUARG Program and its various activities
and proposed budgets are available in the
Detailed Study Plan
(1974) [1003 KB pdf].
- The PLUARG Annotated
Bibliography [409 KB pdf] is another useful source of project information.
Pollution In The Great Lakes Basin From Land Use Activities (Mar. 1980) [1139 KB].
An IJC Report to the Governments of the United States and Canada. [IJC:ID500.pdf].
SEE: IJC Report List on P.119)
Summary Report (17 p) (82 KB) [IJC:ID501.pdf]
Phosphorus Management for the Great Lakes: Final Report of
the P Management Strategies Task Force. (July, 1980). G.R.
Rohlich & D.J. O'Connor. [680 KB pdf]
Post-PLUARG Evaluation of Great Lakes Water Quality
Management Studies (Sept. 1980)
Vol. 1 (166 pp) [5953 KB pdf];
Vol. 2 (150 pp) [4424 KB pdf], Rose Ann Sullivan et al.,
Great Lakes Commission, Ann Arbor, MI.
Supplemental PLUARG Report:
On Phosphorus Management Strategies". IJC, January, 1981. [55 KB]
Affecting Suitability Of On-farm Remedial Measures For Non-point
Pollution Control In The Canadian Great Lakes Basin. 1982.
C. Pharo. Upper Thames River Cons. Authority [938 KB]
Nonpoint Source Pollution Abatement
in the Great Lakes Basin: An Overview of Post-PLUARG Developments. (August, 1983).
A Report Submitted by the Nonpoint Source Control Task Force of the Water Quality
Board of the International Joint Commission.[726 KB pdf]
Agricultural management practices for improved water quality in the Canadian Great Lakes
Basin. 1983. K.D. Switzer-Howse, Agriculture Canada. [2017 KB]
A Review of Trends in Lake Erie Water
Quality with Emphasis on the 1978-1979 Intensive Survey (June 1985) [3061 KB pdf] D.E.
Rathke & C.J. Edwards. [IJC: ID650.pdf]
A conceptual Approach for the Application
of Biological Indicators of Ecosystem Quality in the Great Lakes Basin (Mar. 1985) [1360 KB].
[IJC:ID712.pdf] IJC & Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
Relationships Between Land Use and Water
Quality in Southwestern Ontario. (1986). Gartner Lee Assoc., for O.M.E. [2400 KB]
Sources of Pollution to the Great Lakes Basin (Based on
Findings of a Workshop to Assess the Status of Nonpoint Source
Pollution Control in the Great Lakes Basin, Toledo, OH, Sept.
16-18, 1998). Workgroup on Parties Implementation, Great Lakes
Science Advisory Board. February 2000 [pdf]
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 2012 Update (first signed in 1972 and renewed in 1978)
Links to Other Archived Environmental Reports
Federal & Misc. Environmental Reports
ManureNet Digital LIbrary
About the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement,
IJC, Windsor, ON
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
2012, IJC, Windsor, ON
Review of the Canada–U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (2007) [pdf];
Binational.net - collaboration
between the USEPA and Environment Canada to provide a single window on joint Great Lakes programs.
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 2012 Update (Environment Canada).
Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality (Sept. 2004).
IJC, Windsor, ON
Sources of Pollution to the Great Lakes Basin [pdf] (2000)
(Based on Findings of Workshop to Assess the Status of Nonpoint
Source Pollution Control in the Great Lakes Basin, Toledo, Ohio,
September 16-18, 1998
United States Response to Recommendations in the International Joint
Commission's 12th Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality
(Oct. 2005) - US Dept. of State & US EPA, Great Lakes National Program Office. [PDF].
Erie Total Phosphorus Loading Analysis and Update: 1996–2002. Quality
Assurance Project Plan, David M. Dolan,
and Kevin P. McGunagle, U. of Wisc.,Green Bay, Green Bay, WI 54311.
- The Secrets Behind
PLUARG, Sara Moore, IJC, Windsor, ON (186 KB pdf)
Science and Policy for Urban Nonpoint Source Pollution in the Great
Lakes Region (Nov. 2002). Contact: Dr. Stephen Bocking,
Environmental and Resource Studies Program, Trent University
PDF Version 356 KB) (Section III makes extensive references to PLUARG)
- A Proposed Framework for Developing
Indicators of Ecosystem Health for the Great Lakes Region (July 1991) [1210 KB pdf]
(IJC:ID1049.pdf); Council of Great Lakes Research Managers Report to Int'l Joint Commission.
Planning sediment monitoring programs using a watershed model.(1992). W.T. Dickinson,
R.P. Rudra, D. N. Sharma & S.M. Ahmed. U. of Guelph, ON. Erosion & Sediment Transport
Monitoring Programs in River Basins (Proc. of the Oslo Symp., August 1992).
IAHS Publ. no. 210.
Agriculture in the Great Lakes Basin – Stewardship and Innovation (OMAFRA)
An Evaluation of Water Resource Monitoring Efforts in Support of Agricultural Stewardship in
Watersheds of the Great Lakes Basin. (Feb. 2009) [312 KB pdf] Submitted to
OMAFRA, Great Lakes Program.
- Control of water pollution
from agriculture - FAO irrigation and drainage paper 55. (1996). Edwin D. Ongley,
Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington, Canada. Pub. by Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome,
- The Great
Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Shaping Water Quality Decisions: An Evaluation of a Public Consultation Programme.
(1983). A.P. Grima.
Water International :
(3), 120 - 126.
The International Joint Commission and Public Participation: Past Experiences, Present Challenges,
Future Tasks. (1993). (Abstract only) Natural Resources J. 33:235-274 Mimi Larsen Becker, U. of New Hampshire.