Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI)

Since 2002, environmental organizations from the United States and Canada have teamed up in an intensive effort to assess conditions and the health of the five Great Lakes, rotating to one Great Lake each year. This program is called the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI).

Each year, the survey focuses on a series of research areas, such as:

  • Phosphorus and nitrogen input and movement through the food web
  • Phytoplankton and zooplankton populations
  • Fish diet and distribution

The research areas are tailored to the unique challenges and data gaps associated with each lake. In 2015, our team conducted research to help assess the condition of Lake Michigan. The CSMI Lake Michigan 2015 Report is an executive summary of the research results and the associated white paper containing more specific information. The CSMI Lake Michigan 2020 Kickoff Workshop Report summarizes key research questions that remain, while the CSMI Lake Michigan 2021 Prospectus outlines sampling activities that were planned for 2021.

The latest results from this research are also available in an ESRI Story Map, Lake Michigan Health: A Deeper Dive

Slide the bar from left to right to see how the Lake Michigan food web has changed since the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes National Program Office and Environment and Climate Change Canada organizes the binational program. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) specialists help coordinate researchers and share results through meetings, reports, and outreach products.

Paris Collingsworth, IISG Great Lakes ecosystem specialist, provides leadership in collaboration with EPA scientists, defining critical questions and coordinating research efforts of various agencies for large-scale studies. He works with the Lakewide Action and Management Plans partners for each lake as they define research priorities, and coordinates with scientists as they set up studies and analyze data. Paris is also helping Great Lakes Sea Grant programs to develop CSMI outreach products to share research results.

While Paris is involved with work on all five Laurentian Great Lakes, IISG’s Kristin TePas and Allison Neubauer have been developing Lake Michigan-specific informational products for local stakeholder groups.

For the latest information about CSMI Lake Michigan research, visit

Contact Info

Topic Specialist

Paris Collingsworth
Great Lakes Ecosystem Specialist
Kristin TePas
Community Outreach Specialist

Research Projects

Carolyn Foley
Research Coordinator


Ethan Chitty
Administrative Assistant

Education & Training

Terri Hallesy
Education Coordinator
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