What is CSMI?

Beginning in 2002, government agencies, academia, and other environmental organizations from the United States and Canada have teamed up to dedicate extra attention to measuring conditions in one of the Great Lakes each year through the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI).

The survey annually focuses on a series of research areas that are tailored to the unique challenges and data gaps associated with each lake. The activities are conducted in response to priorities established by the Lake Partnerships of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) Lakewide Management Annex and documented in Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) organize the binational program. CSMI partners include the International Joint Commission, NOAA, USGS, state and provincial government entities and tribal nations, the Great Lakes Sea Grant programs, businesses, non-profits, and academic researchers. Data collection often takes place aboard the EPA’s research vessel, the R/V Lake Guardian, and is complemented with monitoring conducted from partners’ vessels and research platforms.

Field Year Lake Rotation

  • Lake Huron: 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017, 2022
  • Lake Ontario: 2003, 2008, 2013, 2018
  • Lake Erie: 2004, 2009, 2014, 2019
  • Lake Michigan: 2005, 2010, 2015, 2020/21
  • Lake Superior: 2006, 2011, 2016, 2021
MODIS satellite image of Lake Huron with some ice cover. April 23, 2014. Credit: NOAA Great Lakes CoastWatch

Upcoming Field Year: Lake Huron – 2022

Sea Grant is helping to highlight information about recent and upcoming CSMI years and provide access to associated results/reports as they become available. These will ultimately be compiled on this collaborative website – greatlakescsmi.org.

Additional background can be found here: