Regional Goals for the Great Lakes
Through Blue Accounting, experts collaborate to track progress toward shared goals for key issues affecting the Great Lakes. Below is what we are currently tracking for Minnesota.
Progress is reported by metric
Preventing the introduction of new non-native species is the most cost-effective approach to minimize future threats from AIS. Prevention activities aim to reduce the uptake, movement and introduction of non-native species, and may be applied to any of the pathways that introduce AIS into the Great Lakes basin: trade in live organisms, recreational activities, shipping, and canals and waterways.
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers identified and agreed to prohibit 21 "Least Wanted" aquatic invasive species. Blue Accounting tracks how many of those species are regulated in each jurisdiction, as well as related policies.
Blue Accounting tracks regulatory and non-regulatory approaches used across the region to ensure boaters take specific actions to reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species. No target is currently defined for this metric.
target not defined
Early detection (i.e., monitoring) and response programs are intended to detect new non-native species early while populations are still localized. Early detection increases the likelihood that work to contain, control, and ideally eradicate new populations will be effective. A comprehensive basin-wide approach is needed to coordinate and guide detection and response efforts.
Blue Accounting is reporting on locations in the Great Lakes where surveillance for aquatic invasive species is a priority.
More than 185 non-native species are established in the Great Lakes, some of which are considered invasive and are causing ecological and/or economic damage. While significant progress is being made to prevent the introduction and establishment of new AIS, damaging populations of AIS that already exist should be managed to reduce their negative impacts.
Additional information about Minnesota
Fondly known as “the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota’s access to the largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, provides fresh drinking water for residents and industry as well as opportunities for commercial shipping and fishing, recreation, and tourism.
Minnesota has 189 miles of coastline along which more than 216,000 people live. Each year, an estimated 3.5 million people visit Minnesota’s “North Shore” – driving a $1 billion tourism industry and supporting 20,000 jobs annually. Lake Superior also supports a substantial sport fishery valued at $1.58 billion and a recreational boating industry that supports 50,000 jobs and $3.7 billion annually.
Minnesota boasts a commercial shipping industry that supports 6,161 jobs with $1.27 billion generated in business revenue resulting from the transportation of nearly 59 million tons of cargo each year. The Port of Duluth-Superior, located within the St. Louis River Estuary, at the headwaters of Lake Superior, is ranked among the top 20 ports in the U.S. It handles an average of 35 million tons of cargo annually. Over 11,500 jobs depend on the 20 privately owned and operated docks along the 49 miles of waterfront in the harbor. The diverse coastal marsh habitat in this 12,000 acre estuary is the productivity driver for western Lake Superior’s biological communities. The estuary is a prime destination for sustainable food harvesting and low-impact recreational pursuits.
Investing in clean water is money well spent. Minnesota voters clearly delivered this message when they overwhelmingly passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008. The amendment provides 25 years of dedicated funding to strengthen and enhance Minnesota’s response to water resource challenges and to protect high-quality waters. The Clean Water Fund creates opportunities for Minnesota to take innovative and collaborative approaches to improve water quality statewide.
Clean water management requires a systematic approach to address issues related to surface water, groundwater, drinking water, habitat, recreation, and more. Minnesota has adopted a watershed-based management approach that promotes increased collaboration and a common vision for planning and implementation activities. This approach is not limited by county or other jurisdictional boundaries. Partnerships between state agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders play a key role in successful resource management as they prioritize, target, and measure Clean Water Fund activities.
What we do
Blue Accounting is an information service to track the region’s progress toward shared goals for the Great Lakes. Maintained by the Great Lakes Commission, the information developed by Blue Accounting helps elected officials make sure that policies and programs are effective at protecting the largest fresh surface water system on earth.
What we measure
The Great Lakes Commission’s Blue Accounting team works with experts to identify goals and methods to track progress on key Great Lakes issues. Currently, Blue Accounting is tracking progress on protecting the region from aquatic invasive species and keeping phosphorus out of Lake Erie.