Domestic Action Plans, available on the Resources page, are the “road map” for phosphorus control efforts being undertaken by states, the province of Ontario, and both federal governments. These plans contain specific activities for meeting the 40% phosphorus reduction goals for the western and central Lake Erie basins agreed to by the U.S. and Canada under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Note that New York State also shares information on ErieStat, but is not obligated to produce a Domestic Action Plan because phosphorus targets for the eastern basin of Lake Erie have not been developed.

The Lake Erie Binational Phosphorus Reduction Strategy, prepared by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Nutrients Annex Subcommittee, identifies common themes from the Domestic Action Plans. While activities identified in the Binational Strategy may not be applicable in all jurisdictions, the five broad strategies are used below to help organize specific activities that each jurisdiction is taking to reduce phosphorus loads. These efforts are identified as Related Investments or may be accessed through the Investments page

The ErieStat team is working with our partners in federal, provincial, and state governments to track progress toward a healthier Lake Erie. Content is being added over time; check back often or follow @BlueAccounting on Twitter for updates.

Strategy #1: Reduce Phosphorus Loadings from Agricultural Sources

Key actions under this strategy include:

  • Encourage farmers to adopt on-farm best management practices, emphasizing a “systems approach” 
  • Adopt 4Rs Nutrient Stewardship Certification or similar programs; avoid nutrient application on frozen or snow-covered ground; and implement and enforce fertilizer and manure application requirements where they apply
  • Improve soil health and manage drainage systems to hold back or delay delivery of runoff though the use of saturated buffers, constructed wetlands, or other drainage water management techniques

Strategy #2: Reduce Phosphorus Loadings from Municipal Sources

Key actions under this strategy include:

  • Optimize wastewater infrastructure
  • Encourage investments in green infrastructure and low impact development  
  • Identify and correct failing home sewage treatment systems
  • Investigate water quality trading as a potential future tool for managing phosphorus

Strategy #3: Support Watershed Based Planning and Restoration Efforts

Key actions under this strategy include:

  • Develop or refine local watershed plans to meet the phosphorus reduction goals for the lake
  • Target watershed restoration efforts to areas most prone to phosphorus losses
  • Restore natural hydrology and ecological buffers to intercept nutrient runoff

Strategy #4: Coordinate Science, Research and Monitoring

Key actions under this strategy include:

  • Enhance in-lake monitoring of algae and hypoxic conditions and research on the factors contributing to these conditions;
  • Improve monitoring of phosphorus loads in tributaries and watersheds;
  • Invest in research and demonstration initiatives to improve knowledge and understanding of the effectiveness of BMPs, particularly BMPs to control soluble reactive phosphorus;

Strategy #5: Enhance Communication and Outreach

Key actions under this strategy include:

  •  Engage stakeholders on local and regional scales to increase the understanding of water quality condition and management challenges, nearshore and beach health, and best management practices and policies.