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LaMP - Lake Ontario
2004 Biennial Report

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Great Lakes Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPS)

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Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs)

Lake Ontario
2004 Biennial Report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan 2004, as presented in this binder, contains a comprehensive compilation of existing Lake Ontario documentation, with some additional new material, addressing the goals to restore and to protect the beneficial uses of the Lake. Information on research, investigations, assessments, reporting and many work activities is presented in thirteen chapters with tables, figures and appendices. Following the background, details on the ecosystem goals, objectives and indicators are presented. In subsequent chapters, beneficial use impairments are identified and sources of critical pollutants are described. Individual chapters further address habitat restoration, human health considerations, emerging issues, Areas of Concern, the LaMP workplan, and next steps.

Background

In 1987, the governments of Canada and the United States made a commitment, as part of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), to develop a Lakewide Management Plan for each of the five Great Lakes. The purpose of a Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) is to identify the actions necessary to restore and protect the lake. There are a number of important principles that guide the development of LaMPs. According to the 1987 Agreement, “LaMPs shall embody a systematic and comprehensive ecosystem approach to restoring and protecting beneficial uses in ... open lake waters”, including consultation with the public. LaMPs will also provide an important step towards the virtual elimination of persistent toxic substances and the restoration of “physical, chemical, and biological integrity” (IJC, 1987) of the lakes. Through a LaMP, efforts are to be coordinated among governmental agencies to reduce amounts of contaminants entering the lake and address causes of lakewide environmental problems.

This LaMP for Lake Ontario has been developed by Region II of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Environment Canada (EC), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) (the Four Parties) in consultation with the public. It identifies the progress seen to date in the lake as a result of actions already implemented and proposes future actions that the Four Parties can take, individually or jointly, to address identified problems.

LaMP Implementation

The Lake Ontario LaMP focuses on resolving:

The LaMP addresses sources of lakewide critical pollutants, which are those substances responsible, either singly or in synergistic or additive combination, for beneficial use impairments in the open lake waters of both countries, as well as those substances that exceed criteria and are therefore likely to impair such uses, which require binational actions for resolution. This Plan is to be coordinated with Remedial Action Plans within the Lake Ontario drainage basin and other localized efforts which are best suited to address issues of local concern. In addition, this Plan is to utilize linkages to other natural resource management activities, such as the development of Lake Ontario fish community objectives by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Lake Ontario Committee of fisheries managers. The LaMP addresses impairments found in open waters of the lake and nearshore areas, without duplicating the efforts of localized remedial action plans. Tributaries, including the Niagara River, are treated as inputs to the lake. The St. Lawrence River is treated as an output from the lake.

LaMP Reporting

The LaMP Stage 1 report, released in 1998, identified the problems existing lakewide in Lake Ontario, and the chemical, physical, and biological causes of these impairments. It also included information on progress made to date, monitoring results, and a three-year binational work plan that identified the activities the LaMP partners would undertake to restore beneficial uses of the Lake. The work plan identified activities to further reduce inputs of critical pollutants to Lake Ontario, reassess beneficial use impairments in open lake waters, manage biological and habitat issues, and develop ecosystem objectives and indicators. The binational work plan has since been revised and updated.

In July 1999, the Great Lakes Binational Executive Committee (BEC), which is the group of senior government representatives to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, adopted a resolution that called for the reporting on all elements of LaMPs every two years. In 2002, the Lake Ontario LaMP presented its first biennial LaMP report. The 2002 LaMP report provided a summary of actions taken and progress made by the LaMP since the LaMP Stage 1 report.

The Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan 2004 is the first LaMP for Lake Ontario to be issued in binder layout, and it represents the format that will be utilized over the coming years. Every two years the binder document will be reviewed and, where appropriate, chapters (or pages) will be replaced with updated versions. Where there is no new information, the chapter will remain unchanged.

LaMP Next Steps

The Four Parties will continue efforts to restore and protect Lake Ontario and its biological resources. The LaMP workplan is a fundamental component in maintaining progress for this goal. A new LaMP workplan became effective in January 2003 and is based on a 5-year schedule.

In the upcoming years, special attention will be concentrated on the following activities:

  • Coordination of binational monitoring efforts and programs to better assess the health of Lake Ontario and its ecosystem.
  • Reducing critical pollutant loadings to the lake.
  • Reporting on the status of adopted ecosystem indicators, habitat, source trackdown and invasive species.
  • Broadening partnerships with other scientific groups to share data, conduct analyses, and assist with peer review.
  • Conducting public outreach on pollution prevention, LaMP activities and partnering opportunities.
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