The IJC has recently, 2013/08/29, released a report concerning the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABS) and nutrient loading for Lake Erie. And are also requesting public comments. Below is a few details pulled from the IJC website. Use the links below for full details.
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is an international organization created by the Boundary Waters Treaty, signed by Canada and the United States in 1909.
The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments.http://www.ijc.org/en_/About_the_IJCDraft Report
Commission Seeks Public Comment on Draft Lake Erie Report
Report Provides Advice to Governments to Reduce Nutrient Loadings and Harmful Algal BloomsBrief reporthttp://ijc.org/en_/leep/draft_reportFull reporthttp://www.ijc.org/files/tinymce/uploaded/Draft%20LEEP-Aug29Final.pdfCommentshttp://ijc.org/en_/leep/CommentsOpen Houses
Unless otherwise noted, each open house will have a poster display from 6-7pm with a time for public comment from 7-9pm.http://ijc.org/en_/leep/openhouse
The complete report can be reviewed at http://www.ijc.org/files/tinymce/uploaded/Draft%20LEEP-Aug29Final.pdf
A few key highlights are:
-Current phosphorous loads to Lake Erie are largely from non-point sources.
-Run-off from agricultural sources such as fertilizer and animal waste are a major non-point source of phosphorous.
-There are hotspots that contribute a disproportionate share of dissolved reactive phosphorous (DRP) that is more bioavailable for supporting algal growth. The single biggest source of DRP is the Maumee River.
-Because of the intense storms related to climate change, future nutrient loading, coupled with warmer temperatures, could lead to increased severity and frequency of algal blooms. Climate change may also contribute to increasing hypoxia (dead zones) in the central basin of Lake Erie.
-In the western basin of Lake Erie, types of algae known as Microcystis and Anabaena both can secrete toxins that kill wildlife and pose a risk to human health.
-Phosphorous monitoring is inadequate, especially with regard to wet weather events as well as the share of phosphorous loading to Lake Erie contributed by the Detroit River.
With respect to action, the Commission made 15 specific recommendations directed toward federal, state and provincial governments. These include:
-To reduce the severity and extent of harmful algal blooms to acceptable levels, governments should set total phosphorous load targets for the Maumee River and the western basin of Lake Erie that are roughly 40 percent below the average loads for the past five years.
-To reduce the hypoxic area by half, the DRP load should be reduced by more than 75 percent compared to the average.
-All jurisdictions in the Lake Erie basin should ban the application of manure and biosolids from agricultural operations on frozen or ground covered by snow.
-All jurisdictions in the Great Lakes basin should prohibit the use of P fertilizers for lawn care with strictly limited exceptions.
-Future management efforts should focus on reducing the phosphorous load delivered during the spring period and be focused primarily on those subwatersheds that are delivering the most phosphorous into the lake.
-Existing and planned incentive based programs should immediately shift to a preference for Best Management Practices that are most likely to reduce DRP.
-The U.S. & Canadian governments should strengthen and increase the use of regulatory
mechanisms of conservation farm planning, with nutrient management as a primary emphasis, in balance with the economic viability of the sector.
-U.S. and Canadian federal policy should link the cost and availability of crop insurance purchases or premiums to farm conservation planning and implementation of nutrient management practices.
-Governments should commit sustained funding for enhancing and maintaining monitoring networks, especially a water quality monitoring system at the outlet of the Detroit River and monitoring during wet weather events.