Presentation on theme: "Presentation to Council of Great Lakes Industries August 7, 2014 Binational Efforts to manage nutrient inputs to the Great Lakes Tinka Hyde and Susan Humphrey."— Presentation transcript:
Presentation to Council of Great Lakes Industries August 7, 2014 Binational Efforts to manage nutrient inputs to the Great Lakes Tinka Hyde and Susan Humphrey Nutrients Subcommittee Co-Chairs
Harmful and Nuisance Algal Blooms …it’s not a new problem Blooms were a significant problem in Lakes Erie, Ontario and Huron in the 1960s and 1970s. – Environmentalists declared Lake Erie “dead” The algae issue was a major driver for the signing of the first Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972 – The Agreement established binational targets for the reduction of phosphorus discharges to the Great Lakes Governments responded by regulating phosphorus in detergents, investing in sewage treatment, and developing and promoting best management practices for agriculture lands.
Harmful and Nuisance Algal Blooms …have been increasing in Lake Erie since late 1990’s – Harmful and Nuisance algal blooms (HNABs) foul beaches, degrade fish and wildlife habitat, risk animal health and make water unsafe for drinking and swimming thereby impacting commercial fishing, tourism, recreation and property values – Also associated with Type E Botulism outbreaks and zones of low oxygen (hypoxia) in the bottom waters – Some blooms produce toxins which require additional treatment before the water is safe for human consumption, resulting in closure of beaches and drinking water intakes, or increased drinking water treatment costs – Surface blooms of HNABs develop near tributary mouths in in the west basin or along the northern shorelines and move across the lake. They vary in timing, extent and duration from year to year ▪ In 2011 the bloom extended 5000km2 and levels of toxin (microcystin) reached 50 x the World Health Organization’s recommended level for safe recreation and 1,200 x the level for safe drinking water. ▪ 2012 HNAB was later and smaller, but more intense along Canadian shorelines ▪ 2013 HNAB large but not as extensive as 2011 bloom
Algae Issue in Other Great Lakes In other Great Lakes (Ontario, Huron, Michigan) HNABs and nearshore algae development is an increasing problem in some areas, especially embayments, such as Bay of Quinte, Hamilton Harbor and Lake St Clair while, Levels of phosphorus in open waters of these lakes are below targets which is reducing offshore productivity especially fisheries Only in Lake Superior are offshore phosphorus targets being met and conditions acceptable.
Causes and Sources nutrient (especially phosphorus but also nitrogen) discharges from urban and agricultural landscapes due to changes in land use and land management practices and population growth increased frequency of severe storms changes to water clarity and nutrient flows caused by Aquatic Invasive Species (Zebra and Quagga Mussels) increased temperatures longer growing seasons
The 2012 GLWQA includes commitments to develop new phosphorus targets and action plans Charge to the Nutrients Annex: It’s complicated ! Starting with Lake Erie by 2016 Determine phosphorus concentration objectives and loading targets for open waters and nearshore areas including embayment's and tributaries Determine loading allocation by country and identify priority watersheds for load reduction Starting with Lake Erie by 2018 Assess effectiveness of programs to achieve the Substance and Lake Ecosystem Objectives Develop domestic action plans and strategies to control nutrients
Nutrients Annex Subcommittee and Task Group Structure 7 Annex Subcommittee Objectives and Targets Development Agricultural Sources Urban and Rural Municipal Sources Core Team Tinka Hyde, EPA Susan Humphrey, EC Sandra George, EC Santina Wortman, EPA Jeff Reutter, OSU Sandra George, EC William Creal, MDEQ Terri Bulman,MOE&CC John Schlichter, ODA Jim Richardson, OMAF
Priorities for Science Science to support establishment of phosphorus objectives, improving understanding of major drivers, and identifying priority watersheds Monitoring to track progress towards objectives 8
Priorities for Action Updating 1987 offshore phosphorus objectives and developing new nearshore phosphorus objectives Phosphorus loading targets necessary to achieve the above phosphorus objectives Assessing effectiveness of programs and measures Phosphorus reduction strategies and domestic action plans 9
Key decisions and outcomes to date 10 There is Task group agreement: That Adaptive Management principles are key to this process to use existing science and models on the ecological endpoints that best represent the nutrient annex's lake ecosystem objectives that the initial focus will be on the development of P loadings targets for western basin harmful algal blooms and central basin hypoxia by fall 2014 To use an ensemble modeling approach to develop loading targets On the review and selection of existing models and modeling scenarios to develop load response curves
Key challenges The Subcommittee and Task Groups are continuing to work away at addressing key challenges: Determining P concentration targets that are linked to loadings targets that can be monitored, this is especially a problem for nearshore targets Developing loadings targets for Cladophora as key science is still under development and results will not be available until 2016. Critical for East Basin of Lake Erie and the other lakes Linking loadings targets and concentration targets for tributaries as science incomplete Understanding how to calculate loading from non-point sources esp. from agriculture, this is important when developing P source reduction strategies in priority watersheds 11
Path forward to 2016 Phosphorus objectives for Lake Erie by 2016 – Draft phosphorus objectives targeted for late 2014 – Expert and stakeholder consultation targeted for Spring 2015 – Finalization in 2016 Existing programs assessed for effectiveness to manage nutrient inputs from agriculture and municipal sources to Lake Erie – Opportunities identified to optimize programs for greater nutrient reductions 12
Looking ahead to 2018 Development of Domestic action plans by 2018 – What will they look like? Preliminary thoughts – A adaptive management strategy to meet the nutrient objectives for the lake which identify » Priority watersheds and potentially subwatersheds where actions should be focused for greatest impact » Load reduction targets and management measures to address critical sources » Opportunities to improve existing mechanisms to reduce P » Recommendations for potential new mechanisms? » Identification of data needs and limitations » Short and long term goals, interim criteria to gauge progress
Building on and refining prior work Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force and statewide nutrient reduction strategy Lake Erie Binational Nutrient Management Framework (2011) and Status of Nutrients in Lake Erie Basin (2010) International Joint Commission’s Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority (LEEP) Report
Stakeholder Engagement Explicit in the agreement & critical to our success The Parties, in cooperation and consultation with State and Provincial Governments, Tribal Governments, First Nations, Métis, Municipal Governments, watershed management agencies, other local public agencies, and the Public, shall…