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Canada and the United States release progress report showing continuing restoration of the Great Lakes 

06/13/2019
Contact Information: 
Allison Lippert (lippert.allison@epa.gov)
312-353-0967
Sabrina Kim (sabrina.kim2@canada.ca)
819-743-7138

CHICAGO (June 13, 2019) – One in three Canadians and one in 10 Americans lives in the Great Lakes basin. The Great Lakes are a natural wonder and a treasured shared resource, providing jobs, trade, and freshwater for tens of millions of Canadians and Americans. Canada and the United States are committed to their ongoing collaboration to restore and protect the Great Lakes and the environmental and economic benefits that the Great Lakes provide. Today, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the 2019 Progress Report of the Parties (the Report). The Report documents progress made between 2017 and 2019 by both nations in meeting commitments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). 

Working together and in conjunction with many partners, Canada and the United States have made significant progress in restoring and protecting the water quality and ecosystem health of the Great Lakes. There has been significant progress in addressing long-standing environmental degradation in Great Lakes Areas of Concern on both sides of the border. Canada and the United States continue to address the spread of toxic and nuisance algae in impacted areas, particularly in the Lake Erie basin, with the implementation of nutrient reduction activities.

While Canada and the United States have made important strides in restoring and protecting the Great Lakes, the two nations recognize the need to continue addressing ongoing and emerging threats to the water quality and health of the Great Lakes. The Report will promote discussion on priorities for Great Lakes protection during the upcoming 2019 Great Lakes Public Forum in Milwaukee. Public input will play an important part in the decisions the two countries will be making regarding priorities for science and action, during the implementation of the GLWQA over the next three years. 

Quotes

“Now, more than ever, we know how important it is to protect the health of natural ecosystems. The Great Lakes provide trillions of dollars to the Canadian and U.S. economies, and the region is home to tens of millions of people. A healthy environment and a strong economy go hand in hand.  For nearly five decades, Canada and the United States have worked together to improve the health of the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and we will continue to work together to protect this important shared resource.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“EPA and the Trump Administration are committed to working with our Canadian partners on conservation and cleanup efforts in the Great Lakes region. We look forward to continued progress in preserving the Great Lakes and keeping our waters clean through our partnership under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.” 

– Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency

Quick facts

• More than 40 million people live in the Great Lakes basin. This equates to one in 10 Americans and one in three Canadians. More than 3,500 species of plants and animals inhabit the Great Lakes basin as well, including more than 350 species of fish.

• The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) was established in 1972 to coordinate the actions of Canada and the United States to restore, protect and enhance the water quality of the Great Lakes.

• The Progress Report of the Parties is the second of its kind. The triennial Progress Report was a new commitment under the updated 2012 GLWQA and reflects the governments’ commitments to accountability, transparency and public engagement.

• The Great Lakes Public Forum occurs once every three years to discuss the state of the lakes, priorities to guide science and actions, and the progress made under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, as well as provide an opportunity for public input. The 2019 Forum takes place June 17-19 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Associated links

Link to Report

2019 Great Lakes Public Forum