With the assistance of many partners, the Ontario government and the Government of Canada have developed a Canada-Ontario draft action plan for Lake Erie to reduce algal blooms and phosphorus loads in Lake Erie.
As well as meeting Ontario’s commitments under the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, 2014, the action plan being developed will meet commitments under the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015; Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement between Ontario, Michigan, and Ohio; and the Great Lakes Commission’s Lake Erie Joint Action Plan which included the participation of Ontario, Ohio, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.
Without reducing the amount of phosphorus entering the lake, we will continue to see extensive algal growth and low oxygen conditions in Lake Erie. Ambitious and aggressive actions to reduce phosphorus loads are needed to restore and protect the lake’s water quality and ecological health.
As part of the action plan development process, Ontario posted Reducing Phosphorus to Minimize Algal Blooms in Lake Erie (EBR#: 012-8760) on October 6, 2016, which included proposed actions by Ontario for public comment. Comments received from this posting and from engagement with stakeholders, First Nations, and Métis in 2016 are being considered as part of this draft action plan.
The Canada-Ontario draft action plan – Partnering in Phosphorus Control: Achieving Phosphorus Reductions in Lake Erie from Canadian Sources is being led by five federal and provincial government agencies:
• Environment and Climate Change Canada;
• Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada;
• Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change;
• Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; and
• Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Achieving the 40 percent phosphorus reduction targets for Lake Erie will require widespread action and long-term commitment. Ontario and Canada invite input and actions from Great Lakes community partners for inclusion in the final action plan, which will be in place no later than February 2018.