Great Lakes Commission convenes binational advisors to help track progress in Lake Erie
Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) today introduced a newly formed advisory group for Blue Accounting’s ErieStat, a website designed to track progress toward the binational goal of reducing phosphorus in Lake Erie by 40 percent. The advisors met for the first time on Monday, November 12 in Ann Arbor.
Since the launch of ErieStat in 2016, it has been guided by representatives of the Great Lakes states and provinces, the U.S. and Canadian federal governments, and research institutions. The new Content Advisory Group allows other organizations with valuable perspectives to bring their insights to ErieStat. ErieStat also works with the group established under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie by 40 percent. ErieStat’s role in tracking progress toward meeting this shared goal was included in the action plans released by the federal governments earlier this year.
“ErieStat’s new advisory group opens the conversation to a broader array of stakeholders that have key information to help us track how our investments of time and money are impacting Lake Erie,” said John Linc Stine, chair of the GLC and commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “We are grateful to all the participants in this new group for helping us deliver critical information, meet the needs of our partners and improve the health of Lake Erie.”
In June 2018, ErieStat began presenting water quality data for select river systems that drain to Lake Erie, supporting the U.S. and Canada in achieving goals set forth in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, as well as the GLC’s member states and provinces as they track progress toward phosphorus reduction targets. In 2019, ErieStat will begin tracking investments to reduce phosphorous pollution.
GLC Program Manager Nicole Zacharda leads the ErieStat effort. “Having passionate advocates for Lake Erie sit down together to discuss their unique information needs inspired our team to keep pushing to improve the website,” Zacharda said. “The experiences and information shared by charter boat captains, farmers, local governments, academics and environmental advocates will shape the future of ErieStat.”
“ErieStat has enormous potential as a tool to help state and provincial legislators evaluate the effectiveness of their governments’ efforts to reduce nutrient pollution in the Great Lakes and their tributaries,” said Content Advisory Group member Lisa Janairo, joining on behalf of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus. “Collaborating with the Great Lakes Commission, The Nature Conservancy, and other organizations on ErieStat is an excellent opportunity and a natural fit for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus.”
“Access to clean, safe water is critical for both public health and economic development and ongoing collaboration is needed to combat algal blooms and other water quality issues plaguing our region’s most important natural resource – Lake Erie,” said Kari Gerwin, director of Water Quality Planning at the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. “TMACOG is happy to provide input during the development of ErieStat and we’re confident that this will be a useful tool to help those who are concerned with the health of Lake Erie work more efficiently and effectively.”
ErieStat is supported with funding from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and the Joyce Foundation. More information is available at www.eriestat.org. GLC and The Nature Conservancy co-lead the Blue Accounting initiative in partnership with federal, state, provincial, and local agencies and private organizations. Blue Accounting receives funding support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
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.