The international waters of the St. Clair – Detroit River System (SCDRS) include portions of southern Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, and western Lake Erie. The System is located within Michigan and Ohio, USA, and Ontario, Canada. Waters from the three upper Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan and Huron) flow through the SCDRS and into Lake Erie at a rate of about 120 billion gallons per day.
In 2004, the Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative (HECI) was proposed by the U.S. Geological Survey – Great Lakes Science Center to address high-priority research questions affecting aquatic resources and habitats in the System. Over time, this voluntary consortium of researchers and managers successfully cultivated effective working relationships among various academic, federal, provincial, state, First Nations and private sector groups, and stimulated interest in having a formal partnership to further advance restoration of the System. In 2013, the HECI membership adopted the use of the “SCDRS Initiative” to more aptly reflect the geographic focus of the strait itself rather than the adjacent lakes.
Using a “Collective Impact” approach, a Partnership Agreement and Strategic Vision were adopted to formally recognize how signatories will interact to fulfill the Priority Objectives of the SCDRS Initiative for the next decade (i.e., 2014-2023). The Partnership Agreement was ultimately formalized with the purpose of coordinating research and management efforts to collectively achieve measurable progress toward the shared vision of a thriving ecosystem managed with science-based principles and broad social support for the region as well as the Great Lakes basin.
In 2014, the Steering Committee created a Communications, a Science Strategy, and Monitoring Subcommittees. These subcommittees were charged with the following duties, which have been updated in 2015:
Communications Subcommittee Charges:
- Develop recommendations to the Steering Committee on implementing backbone facilitation for the partnership.
- Revise website to reflect the new partnership vision and structure.
- Develop methods and products (such as report cards) to communicate priority objectives and annual outputs from the science and monitoring subcommittees to all partners and interested stakeholders.
Science Strategy Subcommittee Charges:
- Develop a science strategy with relevant working/research hypotheses and evaluation indicators from previous Huron-Erie Corridor/SCDRS partnership communications, extant science strategies of partners, and through the collection of new information, as warranted.
- Develop prioritization criteria to identify hypotheses of the highest utility for advancing the common agenda.
- Review, report and amend the science strategy annually, or as otherwise appropriate, to accommodate new scientific findings or emerging issues or opportunities.
- Provide the science strategy to the Steering Committee, the Monitoring Subcommittee, and the Communications Subcommittee following any amendments.
Monitoring Subcommittee Charges:
- Develop a monitoring plan and database, consisting of specific surveys and indicators with clear linkages to the common agenda and themes, drawing from previous Huron-Erie Corridor/SCDRS partnership communications, extant monitoring programs of partners, and through the collection of new information, as warranted.
- Develop prioritization criteria to identify surveys of the highest utility for advancing the common agenda.
- Review, report and amend the monitoring plan annually, or as otherwise appropriate, to accommodate new findings or emerging issues or opportunities.
- Provide the monitoring plan to the Steering Committee, the Science Subcommittee, and the Communications Subcommittee following any amendments.