Concerned citizens can now directly invest in improving Lake Erie water quality
Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) announced that concerned citizens and organizations can now directly invest in improving and protecting water quality in western Lake Erie through the Erie P Market project. For each credit purchased through the Erie P Market, one pound of phosphorus will be prevented from entering the lake. Following GLC’s soft launch earlier this summer, investors have prevented 1,200 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Western Lake Erie Basin. Phosphorus runoff into the Great Lakes contributes to the formation of harmful algal blooms and dead zones and can threaten drinking water for millions of residents.
“Landowners and farmers are implementing changes to improve water quality in Lake Erie,” said John Linc Stine, chair of the GLC and commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Now with Erie P Market, citizens can directly contribute to reducing harmful algal blooms and other problems in Lake Erie. I encourage service clubs, students, civic organizations, anyone and everyone, to pitch in as they are able.”
The purchase of an Erie P Market credit helps to install conservation practices like cover crops or grassed waterways on area farms. These practices keep valuable fertilizer on the land and out of nearby waterways. While relatively new in the Great Lakes, the use of environmental markets to sell and purchase water quality credits follows the model of carbon offsets, which has earned significant public support.
The GLC’s Erie P Market project is exploring the potential market for water quality trading and stewardship crediting across state and provincial lines within the Western Lake Erie Basin. Earlier this year, the GLC announced that the states of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana agreed to use a framework developed by the Erie P Market to guide the creation and sale of phosphorus credits. Ontario also participated in the development of the framework, sharing lessons learned from similar efforts in Canada. The project is now ready to test whether concerned citizens and organizations are willing to invest in protecting water quality in western Lake Erie. We hope the answer is “yes.”
The Great Lakes Commission, led by chair John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 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 office is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.