Center for Science and Environmental Outreach
Science and Environmental Education

Gull Rock Light, Lake Superior


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Development of SOLEC Land Use and Societal Indicators for the Great Lakes Basin

The State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference, is a biennial conference to report on the health of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem and on progress towards the goals of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada, the SOLEC conferences in 1994 and 1996 examined the state of various components of the ecosystem through the use of ad hoc indicators, and provided subjective assessments of certain environmental conditions. SOLEC 98 and 2000 presented, reviewed, and refined a comprehensive suite of 80 Great Lakes ecosystem health indicators.

In preparation for SOLEC 2002, the GEM Center conducted a project to further develop five societal and one land use indicator from the SOLEC suite. This project, funded by the USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office, focused on the following indicators of priority interest to SOLEC:

  • Green Planning Process (#7053)
  • Capacities of Sustainable Landscape Partnerships (#3509)
  • Organizational Richness of Sustainable Landscape Partnerships (#3510)
  • Integration of Ecosystem Management Principles Across Landscapes (#3511)
  • Integration of Sustainability Principles Across Landscapes (#3512)
  • Citizen/Community Place-Based Stewardship Activities (#3513)

Feedback to SOLEC recommended dropping or replacing all but the first and last indicators above, so the project shifted focus accordingly and contributed reports for three additional indicators, updated from earlier research

• Population Density (#7000)
• Economic Prosperity (#7043)
• Energy Consumption (#7057

For more information on these and other indicators, see the SOLEC Implementing Indicators 2003 summary and technical reports





Center for Science and Environmental Outreach
Joan Chadde,
K-12 Education & Outreach Program Coordinator

Center for Science & Environmental Education
Michigan Technological University
115 Great Lakes Research Center
1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI 49931-1295
Tel: (906) 487-3341 Fax: (906) 487-1029

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© 2009 Michigan Technological University
January 8, 2009

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