Lake Erie Algae (ErieStat)

Michigan’s Phosphorus Control Strategies

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Binational Strategy

Michigan Implementation Details

Reduce phosphorus loading from agricultural sources

Consistent with the Lake Erie Adaptive Management Plan released on December 17, 2021, staff from the Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development are accelerating efforts to build an “Ag Inventory” to assure that conservation activities intended to reduce phosphorus loss from agricultural land are installed the right places, maximizing effectiveness. This effort benefits from federal and state sources of funding, including a $25M state appropriate geared toward driving landscape-level change to improve Lake Erie watersheds.

Reduce phosphorus loadings from municipal sources

Michigan achieved the aspirational 20% by 2020 goal agreed upon by former governors of Michigan and Ohio and the former premier of Ontario within a Collaborative Agreement signed in 2015 and carried forward by current leadership. Reductions were achieved by working with four key communities discharging treated wastewater to the Detroit River. Through fine-tuning of treatment processes, significant reductions were achieved.

Support watershed-based planning and restoration efforts

To meet the nonpoint source challenge in Michigan’s portion of the Western Lake Erie basin, the state believes more focused and accelerated activities are necessary at localized (field-scale) and subwatershed levels to better understand the current conditions on the landscape and focus on the implementation of BMPs to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution delivery to Lake Erie. The state is planning and implementing agricultural inventories in 13 priority subwatersheds in the Bean Creek and River Raisin Watersheds. Additional U.S. Geological Survey water quality gaging stations have been installed in key subwatersheds to assess this more-targeted BMP implementation approach and to better detect changes at the subwatershed level.

Coordinate science, research, and monitoring

Michigan agencies continue to work together on research to reduce uncertainty as phosphorus control efforts continue. This includes research on the data and variables relied upon to establish soil test phosphorus and fertilizer application rate standards and recommendations.

Enhance communication and outreach

Michigan agency staff will continue to work with the Great Lakes Commission to annually update this content sharing progress being made in reducing phosphorus loss in Michigan’s Lake Erie watersheds through implementation of Domestic Action Plan for Lake Erie and Lake Erie Adaptive Management Plan.