Conservation Authorities Support Plan to Clean Up Lake Erie

Posted on February 27, 2018

Essex Region – The Essex Region Conservation Authority, along with the eight other Conservation Authorities that work in the Lake Erie watershed, is pleased with the recently released Lake Erie Action Plan to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie by 40 percent.

“As the western basin of Lake Erie is particularly susceptible to Harmful Algal Blooms, our region experiences the impacts of phosphorus and these related HABs more than any other,” explains Richard Wyma, ERCA’s General Manager.  “In addition to the obvious environmental impacts, HABs can impact human health, pet health, and economic health through lost tourism revenue and increased water treatment costs.  They also impact our ability to simply enjoy Lake Erie, which is part of the fabric of our region.”

The Lake Erie Action Plan was released last week by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario.  It identifies Conservation Authorities as key partners and outlines a number of activities they will be doing to contribute to the effort to improve conditions for the Great Lake.

“ERCA and other Lake Erie Conservation Authorities have robust monitoring programs to target actions through science, landowner relationships, watershed planning and a broad range of projects and programs,” adds Dr. Katie Stammler, ERCA’s Water Quality Scientist and Source Water Protection Project Manager.  “We continue to support many activities and best management practices that are outlined in the Domestic Action Plan and hope that senior levels of government are willing to make investments in our local environment to help improve water quality.”

The plan has numerous recommendations for implementation across rural, urban and agricultural areas. It includes increased scientific research and monitoring, and education and outreach to Lake Erie community residents.  An improved understanding of climate change and its impacts on the Lake is also included. For the past three years, ERCA has been working through the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative to research the ‘best’ best management practices to reduce phosphorus.

“With continuing partnerships and additional investments, the Lake Erie Action plan provides an opportunity to ramp up that work,“ Wyma said.

For more than four decades, Essex Region Conservation has been sustaining and enriching the environment of the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region to ensure it is the Place for Life.