Tuesday, September 3, 2013

IJC Report On Lake Erie Nutrient & Algal Issues

Aug 29: The International Joint Commission (IJC) released for public comment the draft report -- Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority:  Scientific Findings and Policy Recommendations to Reduce Nutrient Loadings and Harmful Algal Blooms. The draft report reflects more than a year of work that brought together scientists from Canada and the United States to examine lake-wide changes related to phosphorous enrichment from both urban and rural sources, compounded by climate change and aquatic invasive species. The public is invited to comment online and also at a series of open houses and public meetings.

    Joe Comuzzi, Canadian chair of the IJC said, "The United States and Canada worked together to restore Lake Erie in the 1970s and 80s and their success was an historic binational achievement..Our goal is for this report to help governments address the new challenges facing Lake Erie and make history again." Lana Pollack, U.S. chair of the IJC said, "Common farming practices and also old sewer systems and climate are contributing to Lake Erie's current problems. Our advice to governments pulls no punches because the science indicates that without major changes, especially in farming practices, we won't see any substantial improvement in Lake Erie's health."

    In a release IJC indicates that following the record algal bloom on Lake Erie of nearly 2,000 square miles (more than 5000 square kilometers) in 2011, the Commission launched the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority, setting as a goal the measurable reduction of phosphorous loads and harmful algal blooms. To address the challenge, dozens of scientists from both countries were brought together to examine scientific, socio-economic and regulatory themes as part of a comprehensive approach. In addition, the public was engaged throughout the process to solicit their views and ideas.

   The Commission is now receiving public comments  through October 5, 2013. The report will be highlighted at a panel discussion on September 10 at the Commission's Great Lakes Triennial Meeting in Milwaukee as part of Great Lakes Week. Following a 45 day public comment period, the draft report will be revised and submitted to the governments later this year. A hearing on the report will be held at Wayne County Community College on September 16. Six other hearings are planned for the Great Lakes and Ontario.

    Access a release from IJC including key highlights a summary of 15 specific recommendations with links to online commenting procedures and more information about public meeting locations and times (click here). Access the complete 86-page report (click here). Access details on the meetings (click here). [#GLakes]

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