Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and leaders from other Great Lakes states and Canada gathered in Quebec City for the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers on June 13. At the conference, the leaders signed an agreement that will greatly improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie basin.
Snyder, along with Ohio Governor John Kasich, represented by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, pledged a combined effort to reduce phosphorus inputs to the western waters of Lake Erie by 40 percent over the next 10 years, with an interim goal of a 20-percent reduction by 2020.
Phosphorus is one of several keys to the algae blooms that have plagued the western basin sporadically for several years, impacting tourism, fishing and leading to public health warnings.
“Our Great Lakes are precious. While we have taken many steps to strengthen water quality over the last four years, it is time for us to take further action to address the challenges facing Western Lake Erie,” Snyder said. “While several factors contribute to harmful algal blooms—including weather and invasive mussels—phosphorus levels in the water are a big piece of the puzzle, and one we can take near-term actions to address. I’m proud to be part of this collaborative effort to protect our shared waters. Together, we can and will accelerate progress.”
As part of the agreement, the two states and province will develop a plan outlining their proposed specific actions and timelines toward achieving the phosphorus reduction goal.
The Great Lakes leaders were gathered in Quebec City over the June 13th weekend for the biannual meeting of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. The agenda includes discussion of cross border trade, aquatic invasive species management, maritime system, and other shared issues related to the protection and management of the Great Lakes.
On the aquatic invasive species front, the three jurisdictions of Michigan, Ohio and Ontario also signed onto a resolution to develop a pilot project to harmonize their approaches in combating these invasive threats and further advancing cooperation.
For more information about the Governors’ and Premiers’ collaboration and the 2015 Leadership Summit can be found at www.cglg.org