For immediate release: June 2, 2016

Contact: Tim Eder, teder@glc.org

Office: 734-971-9135; Cell: 734-604-7281

Ann Arbor, Mich. –The Great Lakes Commission is pleased to announce ErieStat — an information platform to track progress toward meeting the goal of a 40% reduction in phosphorus loads to the Western Lake Erie Basin. ErieStat will provide valuable services to the states of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio and the province of Ontario as these governments work to implement policies and programs to achieve the bi-national phosphorus reduction goal.

“ErieStat addresses the need to track progress toward our collective commitment to meet phosphorus reduction targets in western Lake Erie,” said Karl Gebhardt, Deputy Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, who serves on the Ohio delegation to the Great Lakes Commission.

Phosphorus, while important for healthy plants, in excess amounts is a contributor to significant algal blooms that threaten healthy ecosystem function and the communities that benefit from a healthy Lake Erie.

ErieStat is part of the Commission’s groundbreaking Blue Accounting program, which will bring together the right people to determine how best to track progress against shared, region-wide goals, and deliver the right information to help leaders better set priorities and allocate resources. In the Western Lake Erie Basin, ErieStat will bring together water quality experts to discuss and agree on standardized measurements to track progress toward the 40% reduction goal, while also considering the effects of investments intended to reduce phosphorus loading.

The Commission’s effort aligns with the June 2015 Collaborative Agreement between the Governors of Michigan and Ohio and Premier of Ontario, as well as the Commission’s own Lake Erie Nutrient Targets report released in September 2015. Both of those efforts gained further support when the governments of Canada and the United States also adopted the 40% reduction goal in February 2016  as called for under Annex 4 of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the two nations. The Commission will work closely with the Annex 4 Subcommittee in developing ErieStat.

“ErieStat will be an essential service to our member states and provinces as they work together toward the common goal for the Western Lake Erie Basin,” said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission. “In addition, this new program will demonstrate the value of measuring progress towards shared goals and delivering trusted, neutral information services, which are core services of the Great Lakes Commission and our new Blue Accounting initiative.”

“Protecting Lake Erie is critical for both the economic and ecological health of Michigan and the Great Lakes region as a whole,” said Jon Allan, chair of the Great Lakes Commission and director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes. “ErieStat and Blue Accounting will compliment and support our Michigan implementation plan for the Western Lake Erie Basin, and help us to better track progress toward our shared 40% goal.”

The Blue Accounting program is being developed through a partnership between the Great Lakes Commission and The Nature Conservancy, with cornerstone support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and additional support from The Erb Family Foundation and The Joyce Foundation. Learn more about Blue Accounting at http://BlueAccounting.org.

# # #

The Great Lakes Commission, led by chairman Jon Allan, director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.