Agreement will help protect Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health
TORONTO, April 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, a draft Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA), 2014, was posted for public comment until July 3, 2014. This agreement will help the Government of Canada continue to make progress on protecting and enhancing Great Lakes water quality and deliver on its important bi-national commitments with the United States under the amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
The 2014 COA is the result of extensive negotiations with the Government of Ontario and meaningful engagement with the Great Lakes community and stakeholders. It establishes a domestic action plan to guide cooperation and the coordination of efforts to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes over the next five years. The agreement includes concrete commitments to address key environmental issues such as toxic and nuisance algae, harmful pollutants, aquatic invasive species, habitat and species, groundwater quality, and climate change impacts.
Canada is doing its part to protect and restore the Great Lakes. For example:
- We are investing $16 million over four years under the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative to address the re-emergence of toxic and nuisance algae caused by excessive phosphorous discharges to the lakes. This initiative will largely focus on Lake Erie where the impact of algae is greatest, but it will also support a knowledge-based strategy that can be used in other lakes.
- The Lake Simcoe/South-Eastern Georgian Bay Clean-Up Fund has allocated $29 million over five years and builds upon the success of the $30 million Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund (2007-2012). Together, both funds have leveraged a total of $51.2 million from partners so far, to support 186 community projects that will help address algae issues in the watersheds.
- In Great Lakes Areas of Concern, the Government of Canada directly funds local community-led environmental remediation projects. Since 1989, approximately $100 million has been provided by Environment Canada, leveraging over $350 million from other sources and supporting more than 900 partnered projects.
- The Government of Canada is contributing $46.3 million towards cleaning up Randle Reef in the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern, the largest and most severely contaminated site within the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.
- The Government of Canada has also committed $3.5 million annually ($17.5 million over 2012-2017) to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp.
- Since 1971, Canada and Ontario have worked together through a series of agreements which have guided their efforts to restore Great Lakes water quality.
- COA establishes shared priorities among eight federal departments and agencies and four Ontario ministries; identifies time-bounded measurable goals, results and commitments; and, creates the management processes required to maximize cooperation.
- The Great Lakes play a vital role in the physical, social, and economic life of Canada, supporting almost 40 percent of Canada's GDP and approximately 25 percent of Canada's agricultural production.
- The Great Lakes Area is home to approximately 40 percent of Canada's population and contains eight of Canada's 20 largest cities. The Great Lakes directly provide drinking water to over 10 million Ontario residents.
"Our Government is committed to fostering a healthy and prosperous Great Lakes region for the benefit of all Canadians. For over 40 years, Canada and Ontario have worked together under a series of Great Lakes agreements. We are pleased to have reached this milestone today."
- The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council
SOURCE: Environment Canada
For further information:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment