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News Releases from Region 05

U.S. EPA Seeks Public Input on Binational Phosphorus Reduction Targets to Combat Lake Erie Algal Blooms

Contact Information: 
Peter Cassell (cassell.peter@epa.gov)
media only

CHICAGO (July 7, 2015) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public input on proposed phosphorus reduction targets to combat harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement requires the United States and Canada to adopt targets to reduce excess phosphorus levels for Lake Erie by early 2016.

"The United States and Canada are committed to cutting phosphorus levels to protect Lake Erie from harmful algal blooms," said U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman. "Public input is an important part of the process as both countries work to meet the 2016 deadline to adopt final phosphorus reduction targets."

In 2013, a binational workgroup was convened to develop recommended phosphorus reduction targets for Lake Erie. The workgroup included representatives from federal, state and provincial environmental and agricultural agencies, as well and academic experts and members of nongovernmental organizations. The phosphorus reduction recommendations developed by the workgroup were presented during the semiannual Great Lakes Executive Committee meeting in Chicago at the end of June. http://binational.net/glec-cegl/. The recommendations call for a 40 percent reduction in:

-Total phosphorus entering the Western Basin and Central Basin of Lake Erie from the U.S. and Canada.

-Spring total and soluble reactive phosphorus loads from the Maumee River; and

-Spring total and soluble reactive phosphorus loads from the following watersheds where localized algae is a problem.

Canada: Thames River, Leamington Tributaries.

US: River Raisin, Portage River, Sandusky River, Huron River, Maumee River, Toussaint Creek.

For more information about the proposed phosphorus reduction targets and for instructions about providing input for the U.S. targets, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/glwqa/recommended-binational-phosphorus-targets or http://binational.net.