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;
  • Conduct research on factors driving toxicity in harmful algal blooms, including the role of nitrogen; and
  • Apply ecosystem models to improve our ability to predict future ecosystem conditions.

A top binational priority is to conduct the necessary research, monitoring and modeling necessary to assess the effectiveness of phosphorus reduction actions on improving algae and hypoxia conditions in Lake Erie and track progress towards achievement of the phosphorus reduction targets and Lake Erie Objectives. Collaboration is needed by scientists from across the basin to assess conditions, identify science gaps and identify the research needed to fill those gaps. Furthermore, research and monitoring of nuisance benthic algae (Cladophora) must be coordinated to support the development of phosphorus reduction targets in eastern Lake Erie.



Related Investments

United States: Linking Soil Health Assessment to Edge of Field Water Quality in the Great Lakes Basin

This is a partnership among USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Department of Natural & Applied Sciences, Purdue University's Department of Agronomy, and the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Water Science Centers in New York and Wisconsin. The partners will conduct soil health assessments in conjunction with edge-of-field (EoF) water quality monitoring projects established in the GLRI Priority Watersheds. The long-term goal of the project is to document and help build understanding of the relationships between soil health conservation practices and water quality effects of those. The focus of this project is to establish:

  • standardized, in-field soil health monitoring protocols for USGS EoF sites
  • to create a robust baseline dataset of soil health at USGS EoF sites
  • to connect field-scale soil health parameters with the water quality leaving these fields.

New York: Nuisance and harmful algal bloom research

New York State has established and implemented various programs and initiatives to research water quality issues throughout the state relating to Harmful Algal Blooms. New York State is also committed to participating in the Great Lakes Water Quality Act’s (GLWQA) Annex 4 Cladophora initiatives and research. New York will continue ongoing research efforts on algal blooms both within Lake Erie and other New York waters.

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.

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.

New York: Lake Erie tributary monitoring

The Lake Erie watershed has been identified through New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Clean Water Planning Initiative as a high priority for water quality improvement, and Lake Erie is currently the focus of binational efforts under Annex 4 (Nutrients) of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) to assess and reduce nutrient loadings. The objectives of this project are:

  • To collect baseline nutrient and sediment water quality data along with discharge that can be used for model development;
  • To develop a watershed model that will help focus future water quality improvement efforts in the basin, and;
  • Aid in loading calculation and future regional target-setting efforts for nutrient reduction.