ErieStat

Tracking Progress Toward a Healthier Lake Erie

For More Information

Nicole Zacharda
Program Manager
Great Lakes Commission
734-971-9135
nzacharda@glc.org

Excess phosphorus entering Lake Erie contributes to the formation of harmful algal blooms and dead zones, which can be dangerous for fish, wildlife and people. In June 2015, the Governors of Michigan and Ohio and Premier of Ontario signed a Collaborative Agreement to work together toward a 40% reduction in the amount of total and dissolved phosphorus entering Lake Erie’s Western Basin. ErieStat is part of the Great Lakes Commission’s groundbreaking Blue Accounting program and will bring together water quality experts to discuss and agree on methods to measure progress toward the 40% reduction goal.
The Collaborative Agreement, as signed by Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario, sets the goal of a 40% reduction in the amount of total and dissolved reactive phosphorus entering the Western Basin of Lake Erie by the year 2025, with an interim goal of a 20% reduction by 2020. ErieStat will become a web-based platform, developed by a binational workgroup of water quality professionals and designed to track progress toward meeting the binational goal of a 40% reduction of phosphorus loading into the Western Lake Erie Basin. ErieStat will also evaluate whether investments in phosphorus controls are effective in driving progress toward the desired goal

Project Narrative

Lake Erie has a significant social and economic impact on the surrounding region. Currently, harmful algal blooms (HABs) and seasonal hypoxia, which are thought to be the result of excessive phosphorus (P) loading, threaten the water quality and biodiversity of the lake. Recognizing the substantial threat HABs and hypoxia present to the surrounding region, governors and premieres agreed to reduce P loading by 40% (from 2008 loads) by 2025 in the 2015 Collaborative agreement. In the same year, the Great Lakes Commission’s own Lake Erie Nutrient Targets report established similar goals and a set of 10 steps to achieve the targets. Both of those efforts gained further support when the governments of Canada and the United States formally adopted a 40% reduction goal in February 2016 through Annex 4 of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the two nations.

ErieStat will be developed as a web-based platform for tracking progress toward 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 binational phosphorus reduction goal.

Reducing P loading is expected to substantially decrease the intensity and frequency of HABs while also reducing the areal extent of the hypoxic zone within the central basin, therefore improving water quality for surrounding communities that depend on Lake Erie for safe drinking water and the Lake’s ecosystem as a whole.

Project Partners

Funding

The Blue Accounting initiative 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 BlueAccounting.org.

For More Information

Nicole Zacharda
Program Manager
Great Lakes Commission
734-971-9135
nzacharda@glc.org

Get the latest Great Lakes Commission news and events in your inbox!

Sign Up For Our E-Newsletter

Get the latest Great Lakes Commission news and events in your inbox!