GreenWatch Sunday: Great Lakes Reports Issued

by / Oct. 29, 2017 12am EST

The Environment in the Age of Trump

All of the Great Lakes Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LaMP) Annual Reports for 2017 were released this week. These plans reflect the formal collaboration between the United States Environmental Protection Agency, chaired by the anti-environmentalist Scott Pruitt, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. These annual reports provide updates of actions and agreements related to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement under the Boundary Waters Treaty which is administered by the International Joint Comission (IJC). 

Each of the six Great Lakes have thier own LaMP’s. The LaMP’s individually and collectively  reflect the shared agenda’s and perspectives of six individual Lakewide coalitions that help to manage the LaMP’s.

The Lake Erie Annual Report 2017 says this in the overview section:



“Lake Erie’s shallow, productive waters support the highest species diversity and fish production of all the Great Lakes. The lake also provides drinking water for about eleven million people in Canada and the United States. This highly valuable resource has suffered from nutrient and bacterial pollution, chemical contamination, and watershed impacts to critical habitats and species. To combat the growing threat of toxic and nuisance algal development in Lake Erie, the United States and Canada committed, through the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), to establish binational phosphorus load reduction targets. Binational strategies and actions are also being implemented to protect and conserve the native biodiversity of Lake Erie. The Lake Erie Partnership’s 2017 Annual Report provides information and updates on recent actions taken to restore Lake Erie including watershed nutrient management initiatives; coastal habitats and species protection efforts; Lake Erie science and monitoring; and other Lake Erie Partnership activities and deliverables.”


The USEPA site about Lake Erie is suffing from a lack of updates, but it does have information and links to the Lake Erie LaMP, the Buffalo River Area of Concern, and the Niagara River Area of Concern

Areas of Concern (AOC) are geographical locations within the Great Lakes Basin that have severe environmental degradation. The IJC  has identified 43 AOC’s in the Great Lakes, The Great Lakes EPA site lists 31 Areas of Concern. 9 of which are in Lake Erieincluding the Buffalo River AOC, and the Niagara River AOC.

Part of the objectives of the binational agreements and partnering organizations is to delist the AOC’s.  In recent years the Buffalo River has been subjected to dredging to remove toxic sediments and to restore natural habitat. Despite the recent activities, the Buffalo River AOC is not discussed in the 2017 Lake Erie Annual Report.


A partnership between Erie County, New York State, Buffalo Waterkeeper, the Corps of Engineers, and Honeywell are spearheading the delisting of the Buffalo River AOC.


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Buffalo River AOC 


The NYSDEC has an aggressive Great Lakes Action Agenda and hosts regular regional meetings of working groups including Lake Erie and Lake Ontario work groups. 

The Lake Erie LaMP was last updated in 2008, and is expected to be updated again in 2018. 

The USEPA/Environment and Climate Change Canada colaboration promises many opportunities for public engagement prior to the completion and release of the 2018 Lake Erie LaMP.


Interested stakeholders are encouraged to use this website announcement list to keep informed of opportunities for engagment.


Here are links to the other Great Lakes Annual Reports 2017:











What we are reading this week



Chris Collins blames Lake Ontario Plan 2014 for flooding, and announces Trump has new appointments to the International Joint Commission.


Tim Fenster/Niagara Gazette/Lockport Journal 26 October 2017


The decade in the making, binational Lake Ontario Plan 2014 has become a controversial hot-button issue because of Lake Ontario flooding this year. Many people blame the IJC sponsored plan for the flooding, but the IJC and the many partners that have worked on the plan say that it is simply not the case.  Weather conditions including unusual amounts of rainfall, probably linked to climate change are cited by plan defenders as the reason for the flooding. Nevertheless, not fearing to stir emotional controversies, the plan continues to become a combustable political football.  Collins and Trump folks are happy to stir the pot.   Collins indicates that the new unnamed commissioners will oppose the continued use of the plan. He says, or maybe I just made this part up, that Trump will and announce the new appointments replacing long standing members soon, you will see, and they will be great. 



First interstellar object detected in Solar System, and spectacular NASA videos of recent solar eclipse  Sacramento Bee 28 October 2017


Interresting find and really spectacular videos from NASA.