Phase Two of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Unveiled in Chicago
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative hosted a group of other Great Lakes mayors and officials last Wednesday to discuss ways to protect Great Lakes drinking water in lieu of the recent algae bloom in Lake Erie.
According to a MichiganRadio.org article, the summit at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium was triggered by the August shutdown of the drinking water system in Toledo, Ohio, which was contaminated by microcystin toxins.
The summit focused on “potential strategies and collaborative actions to preserve and protect fresh water resources,” according to the mayor’s office.
The group wants to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a standard limit for microcystin in drinking water and create an emergency protocol. The summit also asked state and local governments to keep phosphorous, commonly found in fertilizers, out of lakes and streams.
The second phase of the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was unveiled at the summit by EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. Phase two will be implemented in Fiscal Years 2014 through 2019 and will include cleaning up the 43 Great Lakes areas of concern, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful and nuisance algal blooms and restoring habitat to protect native species.The five-year plan will “strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress toward long term goals,” according to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan.
Congress has spent $1.6 billion since 2009 on the Great Lakes restoration effort. The project is the largest conservation program in the nation’s history, involving 15 federal agencies and the eight Great Lakes states.For more information, visit greatlakesrestoration.us. Read the full Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan II at greatlakesrestoration.us/actionplan/pdfs/glri-action-plan-2.pdf
Photo courtesy Tom Gill