Syllabus for ENVS 4500: Great Lakes Water Policy

Below is the seminar for my capstone course (i.e., seminar) on Great Lakes Water Policy. Sorry for the formatting, which doesn’t seem to translate well from a Word document.



ENVS 4500


Fall 2015

Dr. Daniel Macfarlane

Class location: 2708 Wood Hall

Class hours: Wednesday 2:00-4:30

Office location: 3930 Wood Hall

Office hours: Wednesday before and after class, and by appointment


Course website: Elearning site




Peter Annin, Great Lakes Water Wars (Washington: Island Press, 2006)

-various other readings to distributed by the instructor or obtained by students

-for reference purposes you may wish to consult “The Great Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book”:




This course focuses primarily on water policy and governance in the Great Lakes basin, particularly water quantity and water quality, as well as connected issues such as invasive species and acid rain. We will cover the historical development of Great Lakes water policies and engage a range of recent policies, contemporary issues, and future challenges. As the Great Lakes are a bioregion and resource shared between two countries, we will consider the transborder implications, looking at both the American and Canadian federal governments, as well as the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the eight Great Lakes states. The role of the International Joint Commission will also be a central concern.




Courteous behavior

Strive for professionalism and courtesy during our time together. Please do not do outside homework or read the paper or electronic devices during class. Do not chat while someone has the floor. You will have many opportunities to speak or listen to your classmates present an idea. If you take issue with what someone is saying, then speak up after they have spoken. Adding your ideas to the mix is both respectful and challenging, just as a classroom setting should be.


Plagiarism & Cheating

The academic policies addressing Student Rights and Responsibilities can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog at

If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s) and if you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with your instructor if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test. In addition, students are encouraged to access the Code of Honor, as well as resources and general academic policies on such issues as diversity, religious observance, and student disabilities:

You avoid plagiarism by attributing other people’s ideas, words, and data to the place where you found them. This simply means citing the author(s) by name, title, and date at the moment you use their work in your own writing, and by putting their actual words within quotation marks, or paraphrasing suitably and attributing with a reference.


Academic Accommodation

You may need special arrangements to meet your academic obligations during the term because of disability, pregnancy, religious obligations, or varsity sports. Please review the course outline promptly and write to me with any requests for academic accommodation during the first two weeks of class, or as soon as possible after the need for accommodation is known to exist.




Class Attendance and Participation                 35%

Book Reviews and Presentations                    20%

Presentation of Research Paper                       10%

Research Paper                                                35%


NOTE: without a verifiable, documented emergency – i.e., a catastrophic event, illness, or injury – or prearranged circumstances I will not accept late assignments. Late work will be penalized at a rate of 5% per day. You must submit all assignments to get a grade for the course – failure to complete all components can result in an incomplete mark. The format for all formal written assignments will be 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, 1 inch margins. You may use Chicago, MLA, or APA referencing style (though if using Chicago I prefer footnotes over endnotes).


A         =          93%-100%

B/A     =          88%-92.9%

B         =          83%-87.9%

C/B      =          78-82.9%

C         =          70-77.9%

D/C     =          68-69.9%

D         =          60-67.9%

E          =          below 60%









Class Attendance and Participation: Your frequency in attending this course, completion of assigned readings, and quality of your participation will determine your mark for this component. The total mark is weighted more heavily (60/40) towards participation; this means that a student would not receive a passing mark for this component if they attend every class but never participate. If it appears that students are not completing the readings and are not sufficiently engaging in discussion, the instructor reserves the right to institute ‘reading reflections’ as part of the attendance and participation mark. If you need to miss a class for a verifiable, documented emergency – i.e., a catastrophic event, illness, or injury – or other circumstances please bring this to the instructor’s attention.


Book Reviews and Presentations: Each student will review and present to the class two books from the list of books on the course calendar. Each presentation should be a critical review of 15 minutes in length that summarizes and critiques the book’s main points, approach, evidence, findings, quality, etc. Students should also identify connections with other readings and themes from the class, and provide discussion questions for the class. The presentation must be given on the scheduled day. Each student will also submit a formal written review of the same book, due two weeks after the book is presented in class. Each written review should be approximately 1,500 words in length. This component is worth a total of 20%, and your mark will be based on the averaging of the written review and the presentation.


Presentation of Research Paper: During the two final classes of the semester, students will present their in-progress research paper. This presentation will have the characteristics of a research workshop in which each student discusses their research project in a 15-20 minute presentation, and the audience has the opportunity to provide feedback. Other faculty and guests from outside our class will be invited to attend.


Research paper: Students will write a research paper (7,000-10,000 words) on a topic of their choice (subject to approval by the instructor) within the general theme of Great Lakes water policy. The paper will be due on the scheduled final exam date for this class, which is TBA. Students must submit a research paper proposal, which is due November 4 (10% will be deducted from research papers if a proposal is not submitted). The instructor will be available to meet with students to discuss their research papers, and will read and comment on paper drafts that are submitted by the cut-off date. As noted above, each student will give a presentation to the class based on their in-progress research.














September 9 – Introductions


September 16 – Diving into Great Lakes Policy

-Noah Hall and Benjamin C. Houston, “Law and Governance of the Great Lakes,” DePaul Law Review 63 (3) 723 (2014):

-Thomas R. Crane, “Great Lakes – Great Responsibilities: History of and Lessons in Participatory Governance,” in Velma I. Grover and Gail Krantzberg, eds., Great Lakes: Lessons in Participatory Governance (New York: CRC Press, 2012), 13-43.


September 23 – Creation of the BWT and IJC

-text of Boundary Waters Treaty:

-Stephen Brooks, “The International Joint Commission: Convergence, Divergence or Submergence?” in Environmental Governance on the 49th Parallel: New Century, New Approaches:

-Stanley Changon and Joyce Changon, “History of the Chicago Diversion and Future Implications,” Journal of Great Lakes Research 22 (1996): 100-118

-Book Presentations: Robert Spencer, John Kirton and Kim Richard Nossal, eds., International Joint Commission: Seventy Years On (Toronto: Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto, 1981)


September 30 – Water Quantity I

-Daniel Macfarlane, “‘A Completely Man-Made and Artificial Cataract’: The Transnational Manipulation of Niagara Falls,” Environmental History 18 (4) (October 2013): 759-784:

-Daniel Macfarlane and Murray Clamen, “The International Joint Commission, Water Levels, and Transboundary Governance in the Great Lakes,” Review of Policy Research vol. 32, Issue I (January 2015): 40-59:

-Book Presentations: Daniel Macfarlane, Negotiating a River: Canada, the US, and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014); John Riley, The Once and Future Great Lakes: An Ecological History (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013)


October 7 – Invasive Species

-International Association for Great Lakes Research, “Research and Management Priorities for Aquatic Invasive Species in the Great Lake” (2002):

-Anthony Ricciardi et al, “The Future of Species Invasions in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin,” Journal of Great Lakes Research (2014):

-Daniel Macfarlane, “Carpe Aqua: Asian Carp, Invasive Species, and the Great Lakes,”

  • -Book Presentations: Margaret Beattie Bogue, Fishing the Great Lakes: An

Environmental History, 1783-1933 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000); Jeff Alexander, Pandora’s Locks:  The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2009)


October 14 – Water Quality I

-Paul Muldoon, “Governance in the Great Lakes – A Regime in Transition,” in Velma I. Grover and Gail Krantzberg, eds., Great Lakes: Lessons in Participatory Governance (New York: CRC Press, 2012), 44-66.

-Carolyn Johns, “Transboundary Water Pollution Efforts in the Great Lakes: The Significance of National and Sub-national Policy Capacity” in Environmental Governance on the 49th Parallel: New Century, New Approaches:

-Book Presentations: Lee Botts and Paul Muldoon, Evolution of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2005)


October 21– Water Quality II

-Gail Krantzberg, “The Remedial Action Plan Program, Historical and Contemporary Overview,” in Velma I. Grover and Gail Krantzberg, eds., Great Lakes: Lessons in Participatory Governance (New York: CRC Press, 2012), 245-256:

-2003 IJC Report on AOCs:

-Don Munton, “Acid Rain and Transboundary Air Quality in Canadian-American Relations,” American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Fall 1997): 327-358

-Book Presentations: William McGucken, Lake Erie Rehabilitated: Controlling Cultural Eutrophication, 1960s-1990s (Akron, OH: The University of Akron Press, 2000); Terence Kehoe, Cleaning up the Great Lakes: From Cooperation to Confrontation (Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1997)


October 28 – Water Quantity II

-Resource Kit – The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (skim and familiarize yourself with the key aspects of these agreements and the FAQs)

-Annin, Great Lakes Water Wars


November 4 – Water Quantity III

-Alice Cohen, “The Sixth Great Lake: Groundwater in the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Basin”:

-The Nature Conservancy, “What Could Changing Great Lakes Water Levels Mean for our Coastal Communities?: A Case for Climate-Adapted Planning Approaches”:

-Alejandro Camacho, “Climate change and regulatory fragmentation in the Great Lakes

Basin,” Michigan State University Journal of International Law 17 (1) (2008): 139-154

-Book Presentations: Phil Weller, Fresh Water Seas: Saving the Great Lakes (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1990)

*Research Paper Proposal due


November 11 – Water Quality III

-Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy:

-D.C. Evers, et al., “Mercury in the great lakes region: Bioaccumulation, spatiotemporal patterns, ecological risks, and policy,” Ecotoxicology, 20(7) (2011): 1487-99

-2012 GLWQA Agreement (skim):

-Gail Krantzberg, “Renegotiation of the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: From Confusion to Promise,” Sustainability 2012 (4): 1239-1255:

-Book Presentations: John Hartig, Burning Rivers: Revival of Four Urban Industrial Rivers That Caught Fire (New York: Multi-Science Publishing Company, 2010); Mark Sproule-Jones, Restoration of the Great Lakes: Promises, Practices, Performances (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2002)


November 18 – “Current” Issues

-Ralph Pentland, “Key Challenges in Canada-US Water Governance,” in Emma Norman, Alice Cohen, and Karen Bakker, eds., Water Without Borders? Canada, the United States, and Shared Waters (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013)

-Savitri Jetoo, et al., “Governance and geopolitics as drivers of change in the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence basin,” Journal of Great Lakes Research (2014-preprint)

-“Driven by Climate Change, Algae Bloom Behind Ohio Water Scare are New Normal,” National Geographic (August 4, 2014):

-Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – Action Plan II:

-Book Presentations: Emma Norman, Alice Cohen, and Karen Bakker, eds., Water Without Borders? Canada, the United States, and Shared Waters (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013)


November 25Thanksgiving Break


December 2 – Research Paper presentations


December 9 – Research Paper presentations


Research Paper due during final exam week – date TBA





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s