The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Until 1978, the two countries expanded their approach to combating the many sources and types of pollution in lakes. The 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement set itself the goal of ridding the Great Lakes of persistent toxic substances – pollutants that come from many sources and can harm the health of all species because they remain in the environment for a long time, with an approach that takes into account the entire ecosystem. A 1987 protocol to the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement added specific efforts to rehabilitate the most polluted areas of watersheds, known as “Areas of Concern,” and to develop management plans for the elimination of pollutants at sea level. The IJC was tasked with assessing progress in achieving the 1972 and 1978 objectives every two years and held meetings every two years before concluding each biannual report on the progress of the work. Pennsylvania is one of eight U.S. governments and two Canadian provinces with coastal tributaries and tributaries to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin, as well as one of five states and provinces that share responsibility for water quality in Lake Erie Basin. In 1972, the United States and Canada signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) to create a framework for the restoration, protection and management of common water resources in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is an obligation between the United States and Canada to restore and protect the waters of the Great Lakes. The agreement provides a framework for identifying binational priorities and implementing measures to improve water quality. CEPOL coordinates U.S. activities under the agreement.

The agreement has been amended and updated over the decades, the last time in 2012, to better meet the challenges of the Great Lakes Basin. U.S. states and Canadian provinces are fully involved in this process to ensure the success of cooperative recovery, and Pennsylvania is working with GLWQA subcommittees and working groups. Citizens are encouraged to visit the GLWQA website to learn more about the binational agreement, the agreement was modernized in 2012 to reflect new knowledge and address all issues related to Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health. The IJC plays a key role in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement proceedings. By evaluating efforts to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem, integrating the public into its vision of Great Lakes health and completing its own research on the lakes facing lakes, the IJC assesses the effectiveness of government programs to achieve the goals and objectives of the agreement. Its three- and biennial evaluation reports and recommendations help both countries expand or modify approaches to address specific challenges and ensure that the agreement evolves to address future lake problems. The Pennsylvania Lake Erie Phosphorreduction DAP was completed in September 2017 and was integrated with the other Lake Erie State DAPS into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2018-2023 U.S. Action Plan for Lake Erie, which includes measures to be finalized by each U.S. federal agency with programs to influence water quality in the Eriesee. Elements of the U.S.

Action Plan for Erie will be included in the Erie Wide Action and Management Plan (LAMP).