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 #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

Support and implement environmental certification programs

Environmental certification programs support the regional maritime transportation system’s efforts to demonstrate progress towards improving the environmental performance of the maritime transportation system. Through certification programs, such as Green Marine, companies voluntarily commit to a process that tracks their environmental performance through a rigorous process that insures transparency.

Policies to prevent the introduction and spread of non-native species

MTS stakeholders in Canada and the United States have developed new policies, partnerships, and technologies to prevent the introduction of new non-native species, or the spread of existing non-native species. Oceangoing ships entering the Maritime Transportation System (MTS) from foreign ports have the potential to introduce non-native species through transfer of ballast water, which is used to help stabilize unloaded or partially-loaded vessels.

Optimize maritime transportation system assets

The binational navigation infrastructure underpinning the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime Transportation System (MTS) is critical to the system’s viability and global competitiveness. Moving hundreds of millions of goods and materials annually through the world’s largest deep-draft inland navigation system requires ongoing investment in physical structures, such as locks, piers and breakwaters; waterway maintenance, especially dredging; and services, such as pilotage, icebreaking and aids to navigation.

Regulatory requirements for reducing emissions

Shipping in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime Transportation System (MTS) is a more energy efficient transportation mode than road or rail transportation, thanks to the large capacity of vessels and the relatively low friction associated with moving a vessel through water. As a result, marine shipping emits the lowest amount of carbon per ton-mile, relative to road or rail transportation.

Develop and modernize port infrastructure

Great Lakes ports connect land-based and waterborne transportation and are crucial to local economies and regional industries. There are more than 100 ports in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Transportation System (MTS), handling an estimated 200 million tonnes of cargo annually. Continuous investments are necessary to support the maintenance of essential port functions and to expand port capacity to further integrate the maritime system into regional transportation networks. 

Policy reform to reduce barriers to the maritime transportation system

There are a variety of potential barriers to increasing trade and traffic on the Maritime Transportation (MTS), and some of these barriers can be influenced by policymakers. Such policy-relevant barriers to increasing trade and traffic include the seasonal closures of the system, complex customs regulations, and a fragmented regulatory framework.

Market the maritime transportation system and its benefits

In order to achieve the goal of increasing the Maritime Transportation System’s (MTS) maritime trade and traffic, new shippers and cruise lines must be convinced to use the MTS. Marketing efforts can play an important role in educating prospective system users about the advantages and benefits of MTS maritime shipping. In theory, if potential users are familiar with the system and its value proposition is easily understood, they will be more likely to use it.

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.