Michigan releases draft plan to improve Lake Erie water control

LANSING – State leaders today (Tuesday, June 13) shared Michigan’s draft Domestic Action Plan for Lake Erie — a targeted approach for improving water quality and helping to prevent algal blooms, making it safer for people and aquatic life.

The draft plan will be available for public review, with comments through Friday, July 14, at www.michigan.gov/deqgreatlakes. Comments also may be emailed to DEQ-LakeErieDAP@michigan.gov or mailed to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Division, Attn: Lake Erie DAP, P.O. Box 30458, Lansing, MI 48909.

A public information meeting will be held Wednesday, June 28, from 6:30-9 p.m., at the Baer Auditorium (Room 110) in Jones Hall on the campus of Adrian College, located at 112 S. Charles St., Adrian, MI 49221.

Crafted by the departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environmental Quality, and Natural Resources, the plan aims to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie to help prevent persistent, intense algal blooms in the western part of Lake Erie, including those that are unsafe for people, and address low dissolved oxygen in the central basin of Lake Erie.

Michigan’s plan sets the roadmap for how the state will do its part to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie by 40 percent by 2025, according to a news release by the Michigan DNR.

Algae are natural components of marine and freshwater systems, and not all algae are harmful. But too much algae, like in Lake Erie’s western basin, is an indication of an imbalance in the ecosystem. There are many reasons why the Western Lake Erie Basin is susceptible to algal blooms.

Recently, Michigan joined Ohio and Ontario in the signing of the Western Lake Erie Basin Collaborative Agreement and the Lake Erie Basin was included as a priority action area in Michigan’s Water Strategy.

Michigan’s Domestic Action Plan is one of several plans from surrounding states, the province of Ontario, and the U.S. and Canadian federal governments. The final version, along with plans from other Lake Erie Basin states (Indiana, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania), will be integrated into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s comprehensive plan, scheduled for release in February 2018.

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