OTTAWA, June 13, 2019 One in three Canadians and one in ten Americans live in the Great Lakes Basin. The Great Lakes are a natural wonder and a treasured shared resource providing jobs, trade, and fresh water for tens of millions of Canadians and Americans. Canada and the United States are committed to ongoing collaboration to restore and protect the Great Lakes and the environmental and economic benefits that the Great Lakes provide.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and the United States' Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, released the 2019 Progress Report of the Parties. The Report documents progress made between 2017 and 2019 by both nations, in meeting commitments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
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 the 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 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement over the next three years.
"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 American 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 in keeping our waters clean through our partnership under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement." – Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, United States
More than 40 million people live in the Great Lakes Basin. This equates to one in ten Americans and one in three Canadians. More than 3,500 species of plants and animals, including more than 350 species of fish, inhabit the Great Lakes Basin.
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 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 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and it 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 will take place from June 17 to 19, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
For further information: Sabrina Kim, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-743-7138, [email protected]; Media Relations, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free), [email protected]; Allison Lippert, United States Environmental Protection Agency, [email protected], 312-353-0967