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

Implementation of actions to reduce phosphorus loading to the Lake occurs at multiple scales. Local watershed planning is the building block for these efforts and has cumulative impacts on the Lake. Watershed management plans are being developed to not only have the goal of protecting and restoring water resources within the watershed, but also to contribute to the nutrient reductions needed for Lake Erie. Jurisdictions are seeking opportunities to enhance or refine local watershed plans to meet the phosphorus reduction goals for the Lake. Watershed managers are seeking opportunities to leverage funding, utilize non-traditional funding sources, and consider innovative approaches to maximize phosphorus reductions.

Using local watershed plans (where available) as the starting point, implementation efforts are prioritized to critical sources and areas with a high risk of phosphorus loss. Implementation and monitoring is coordinated within these priority areas and watersheds so that water quality improvements can be demonstrated.



Related Investments

United States: Phosphorus-optimal wetlands

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is working in collaboration with other Great Lakes stakeholders interested in using wetlands for phosphorus reduction, including The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, academic institutions, and other federal agencies. Research and an engineering evaluation will inform decision-making about the potential for treatment wetlands to be a significant part of controlling phosphorus from agricultural runoff in the Great Lakes.

Ohio: Sandusky Bay Initiative

Sandusky Bay has been recognized as a priority management area, and it contains some of the most significant coastal wetland systems in the Lake Erie basin. Under the Sandusky Bay Initiative, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and Ohio Lake Erie Commission will fund and complete engineering and design work for 12 planned restoration projects.

Michigan: Support the development and implementation of approved Watershed Management Plans in the Michigan’s portion of the Western Lake Erie Basin

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will support the development and implementation of approved watershed management plans (WMPs) in Michigan’s portion of the Maumee River watershed and Michigan's watersheds that discharge directly into western Lake Erie.

Michigan: Identify priority areas and actions in Michigan’s portion of the Maumee River Watershed for phosphorus reductions

Only a small portion (about 7 percent) of the Maumee watershed lies within Michigan’s borders. Michigan is partnering with Indiana, Ohio, the U.S. EPA, and the U.S. Geological Survey to ensure appropriate monitoring of the watershed. Though continued monitoring is needed, initial monitoring and analysis has revealed that certain parts of the Maumee watershed in Michigan have higher phosphorus concentrations than others.

Ohio: Watershed plans with far-field phosphorus targets

Watershed planning helps identify critical areas, set local goals, and coordinate implementation of conservation practices. Development of news plans are underway in 26 HUC12 Maumee River watersheds to identify load reduction opportunities and establish far-field phosphorus targets at the watershed level. Far-field planning efforts look to meet overarching Annex 4 nutrient reduction goals, rather than goals for localized impairments. Existing plans will be updated to incorporate far-field phosphorus targets.