The Lake Erie Protection & Restoration Plan 2020 reflects the state of Ohio’s priorities to protect, preserve and restore Lake Erie. The purpose of the plan is to identify the state’s strategic direction for Lake Erie and the Lake Erie watershed to achieve established environmental, recreational, and economic goals.
Representatives from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada presented on the ongoing efforts to manage excess phosphorus loads leading to toxic and nuisance algal blooms and hypoxia in Lake Erie. The webinar provided a brief overview of information and updates on work under the Nutrients Annex of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) and included presentations by experts from the Nutrients Annex Subcommittee.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its federal partners are developing Action Plan III, which will outline priorities and goals for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action (GLRI) for fiscal years 2020-2024.
In the Great Lakes region, recreational boating presents a particularly significant management challenge for efforts aimed at limiting the spread and impacts of aquatic invasive species (AIS). The adoption of legislative policy with a regulatory component (including mandatory boat inspections) has been especially strong in western US. Here, we present a review of the current WID laws and regulations for all eight Great Lakes states to see how each state’s program compares to the recommended authorities set forth in the Model. Our review uses the framework developed by Sea Grant Law Center.
States, especially in the western United States, have taken significant action to reduce the aquatic invasive species risk associated with the recreational boating pathway. In addition to enacting laws and regulations that prohibit the possession, transport, and release of aquatic invasive species, over a dozen states have developed extensive watercraft inspection and decontamination (WID) programs.
Risk assessments identify, evaluate, and estimate the level of risk of a potential invasive species or pathway. They are an important tool in invasive species management, and are used to inform, prevent, prioritize, and respond.
The goal of these two databases is to provide a record of completed risk assessments relevant to North America. These assessments have been completed by a range of government and non-government organizations.
The Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species convened a Risk Assessment Ad Hoc Committee in 2016, with a charge to improve regional species and pathway risk assessment coordination, and to develop a scope of work for the development of a risk assessment clearinghouse. This clearinghouse includes summaries of risk assessments conducted throughout the Great Lakes region to improve access to risk assessment information and provide at-a-glance information about different risk assessment methodologies.
The Governments of Canada and the United States are pleased to release the 2019 State of the Great Lakes Highlights Report, which provides an overview of the status and trends of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Overall, Great Lakes water quality is assessed as “fair and unchanging.” While progress to restore and protect the Great Lakes has occurred, including the reduction of toxic chemicals, challenges cited in the report include invasive species and excess nutrients that contribute to toxic and nuisance algae.
As large-scale restoration plans for degraded aquatic habitats evolve, it is essential that multiorganizational collaborations have a common vision to achieve consensus on restoration goals. Development of restoration targets and postrestoration monitoring strategies can be focused using a viability analysis framework that supports an adaptive management process. Resource managers in the corridor can use these results to identify knowledge gaps, research and restoration priorities, and to assess progress towards meeting restoration goals.