To combat the growing threat of toxic and nuisance algal development in Lake Erie, the United States and Canada committed, through the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, to establish binational phosphorus load reduction targets for Lake Erie by February, 2016, and to develop, by 2018, domestic action plans that will outline strategies for meeting the new targets. In 2016, Canada and the U.S. adopted phosphorus reduction targets for Lake Erie.
The draft Canada-Ontario Domestic Action Plan for achieving phosphorus reductions in Lake Erie from Canadian sources was available for comment from March 10 to May 24, 2017. The draft Plan is a discussion document to assist in the engagement of key stakeholders, First Nations and Métis communities and the public in Action Plan development. It presents Canada and Ontario’s proposed actions to meet commitments under the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, 2012 and the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, 2014, and invited Canadians to contribute their ideas and actions for inclusion in the Action Plan. Consultations were held during the comment period through an online platform, face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders, partners and communities, and public meetings. The Canada-Ontario Action Plan will be finalized in 2018.
The draft U.S. Domestic Action Plan was released for public comment and engagement on August 17, 2017. The U.S. Action Plan summarizes the actions federal agencies and states are taking across the basin, and provides a mechanism for tracking progress. U.S. EPA, in collaboration with federal and state partners, will engage stakeholders in the development of the domestic action plans through in person engagement sessions with targeted stakeholder groups and the public. Information about the individual state plans is provided below.
Ohio – the public notice and comment period for Ohio’s draft Domestic Action Plan began August 25, 2017 and will end on September 25, 2017, and can be accessed at http://lakeerie.ohio.gov/.
Michigan – draft Domestic Action Plan for Lake Erie was made available for public review and comment from June 13 to July 14, 2017 and can be accessed at [www.michigan.gov/deqgreatlakes.]
Indiana – the public notice and comment period for Indiana’s draft Domestic Action Plan began August 14, 2017 and will end on October 13, 2017, and can be accessed at [http://www.in.gov/isda/3432.htm].
Pennsylvania – The Draft Pennsylvania Lake Erie Phosphorus Reduction Domestic Action Plan was made available for comment from May 27 until June 26, 2017.
New York – New York’s actions are reflected in the overarching U.S. Action Plan.