Tracking Progress Toward a Healthier Lake Erie

Reducing Phosphorus into Lake Erie

Excess phosphorus entering Lake Erie contributes to the formation of harmful algal blooms and dead zones, and 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 reactive phosphorus entering Lake Erie’s Western Basin by the year 2025, with an interim goal of a 20% reduction by 2020. 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 for phosphorus in the western and central basins in February 2016 through Annex 4 of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the two nations. The Commission is working closely with Annex 4 in developing ErieStat.