Lakewide Management (Annex 2)

The Great Lakes as seen from space. Credit: NASA.

Given the size and ecological complexity of the Great Lakes, restoring and protecting water quality requires an approach that is specifically tailored to an individual lake. In the Lakewide Management Annex, the United States and Canada commit to establishing Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs) for each of the five Great Lakes and their connecting river systems, as follows:

  • Lake Superior;
  • Lake Huron, and the St. Marys River;
  • Lake Erie, and the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River;
  • Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River and the St. Lawrence River to the international boundary; and
  • Lake Michigan, for which the United States has sole responsibility

The LAMPs identify and prioritize restoration and protection activities required to attain the General Objectives for each of the Great Lakes.

Purpose of the Lakewide Management Annex

Through the Lakewide Management Annex of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Canada and the United States have committed to:

“… contribute to the achievement of the General and Specific Objective of this Agreement by assessing the status of each Great Lake, and by addressing environmental stressors that adversely affect the Waters of the Great Lakes which are best addressed on a lakewide scale through an ecosystem approach.”

Key Commitments

Canada and the United States are working toward the following key commitments:

  • Assembling, assessing and reporting on existing scientific information concerning the state of the waters of each Great Lake and future potential threats to water quality;
  • Identifying science priorities for each lake;
  • Identifying further actions as required to address priority threats to water quality;
  • Developing and implementing lake-specific binational strategies to address substance objectives, established pursuant to the GLWQA and any other current and future potential threats to water quality that are judged to be best addressed on a lake-by-lake basis;
  • Conducting assessments of the nearshore waters of the Great Lakes; and
  • Issuing a Lakewide Action and Management Plan for each Great Lake once every five years as well as brief annual updates to the public.

Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs) are binational, five‐year ecosystem‐based strategies for restoring and protecting the water quality of each of the five Great Lakes and their respective upstream connecting river systems. LAMPs have been prepared in accordance with the Lakewide Management Annex for:

and new LAMPs will be prepared and published according to the following schedule:

  • 2021: Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior
  • 2022: Lake Huron
  • 2023: Lake Ontario
  • 2024: Lake Erie

The LAMPs support the development and implementation of lake-specific strategies and initiatives called for under other annexes, for example: conservation strategies (Habitat and Species Annex), Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (Science Annex), and nutrients strategies and action plans (Nutrients Annex). In addition, the results of the United States and Canadian implementation of the Nearshore Framework will be incorporated into the LAMPs and will inform the identification of priority threats and actions for each lake.

For additional information on deliverables under this Annex during the current three-year management cycle of the Agreement, consult the current Binational Priorities for Science and Action. The Priorities are based on an evaluation of the State of the Great Lakes, with input from the Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLEC), participants at the Great Lakes Public Forum, and recommendations of the International Joint Commission.

Every six months, progress on this annex is reported at the GLEC meetings. Accomplishments are described every three years in the Progress Report of the Parties.

Implementation

Implementation of the annex has benefitted from a subcommittee, co-led by ECCC and USEPA. Member organizations include:

  • Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Conservation Ontario
  • Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission
  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
  • Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Parks Canada
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Métis Nation of Ontario
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • Michigan Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
  • United States Geological Survey
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Walpole Island First Nation
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Currently, work on the LAMPs for each Lake is being overseen by a Lake Partnership, which is a collaborative team of natural resources managers led by the governments of the United States and Canada, in cooperation and consultation with State and Provincial Governments, Tribal Governments, First Nations, Métis, Municipal Governments and watershed management agencies. The Lake Partnership facilitates information sharing among members, supports collaborative assessment of the state of the lake, sets priorities, and assists in coordinating binational environmental protection and restoration activities. It consists of a Management Committee, whose members are senior-level representatives of organizations with decision making authority, and a Work Group that establishes task groups or sub-committees as required to focus on specific lake issues.

As required, time-limited task teams can also be created to focus efforts on a priority issue or project, and will be disbanded when work is complete.