NEMWI Submits Comment on the 2017 Draft U.S. Action Plan for Lake Erie

October 3, 2017

NEMWI provided a comment on the 2017 Draft U.S. Action Plan for Lake Erie (“Plan”) in a submission last week to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Plan presents a summary of efforts to reduce nutrient loading and minimize problems of excessive algal growth in Lake Erie by each of the five Great Lakes states within the Lake Erie watershed, as well as federal agencies. The goal of the Plan is to enable the Lake Erie state and federal agencies to track their progress toward meeting phosphorus reduction goals in Lake Erie, working toward binational phosphorus reduction targets set under Annex 4 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

In its comment, NEMWI reviewed the Strategy and made several suggestions including:

  • Link planned actions directly to predicted phosphorus load reductions to Lake Erie and/or its tributaries;
  • Make a more explicit connection between agricultural conservation actions and edge-of-field and instream phosphorus loads; and
  • In creating target reduction goals, focus on dissolved reactive phosphorus rather than total phosphorus.

In addition, NEMWI reminded the Great Lakes state and federal agencies that an effective monitoring plan for Lake Erie tributaries should target a variety of watershed scales and loading sources, and occur at significant frequencies over a period of time such that an adequate number of samples are obtained to detect trends in nutrient concentrations.

Overall, NEMWI recognizes that the U.S. Action Plan for Lake Erie is a major step toward reducing nutrients in Lake Erie, and commends the Great Lakes state and federal agencies on its creation.

For more information, contact Ankita Mandelia, Policy Analyst for the Towards Sustainable Water Information Program, Dr. Sridhar Vedachalam, Director of the Safe Drinking Water Policy and Research Program, or Matthew McKenna, Director of the Great Lakes Washington Program.