The Plan to Clean Up Lake Erie

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement requires all jurisdictions surrounding Lake Erie to publish action plans for addressing increasingly severe algal blooms, and the deadline is this month.

So far, we’ve seen final plans from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Canada-Ontario. We are still waiting to see what Indiana, Michigan, and the US Environmental Protection Agency propose.

Based on what we’ve seen in the draft and final versions, these plans are a good first step, but generally fail to adequately address the largest source of the problem—runoff pollution from agriculture. Read our analysis of the Canada-Ontario plan at our sister organization Freshwater Future Canada.

Given how severe the situation is—algae threatens the safety of our drinking water, health of fish, and quality of beaches—we need every jurisdiction to step up with a concrete plan to reduce the runoff pollution that fuels toxic algal blooms.

Freshwater Future will continue to advocate for policies that hold polluters accountable for protecting Lake Erie, and we’ll let you know of opportunities to add your voice.

Information from Freshwater Future newsletter, Freshwater Weekly.

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The Great Lakes make up 84% of North America’s surface fresh water and about 21% of the world’s supply of surface fresh water.

The Great Lakes water system is the largest inland shipping system in the world.

The only Great Lake entirely within the U.S. is Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan’s shores hold the largest fresh water sand dunes in the world.

The Great Lakes were formed due to glacial movements that caused depressions in the earth that eventually filled with water.

Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are considered one lake hydrologically since they are connected by the Straits of Mackinac.

Although it falls under the category of what we define as a lake, Lake Superior acts more like an inland sea.

There are 9,000-year-old animal-herding structures below Lake Huron.

The Lake Huron shoreline extends 3,827 miles and encompasses 30,000 islands. It is the longest shoreline of the Great Lakes.

The water in Lake Erie is recycled every 2.6 years, the shortest of any Great Lake.


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