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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Environment Canada released comprehensive, bi-national plans to protect and restore Lakes Erie, Michigan and Superior, which will be updated every two years. The Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs) address problems in the entire ecosystem of each lake, not just at polluted "hot spots." The plans outline the environmental status of each lake, highlight successes, identify problems in the entire ecosystem--not just the polluted areas--and propose solutions.
The release of the LaMPs coincides with the release of the Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan Update and the Lake Huron Initiative Report.
The plans were developed by EPA, Environment Canada, other Federal agencies, and state, Provincial, local and tribal governments in partnership with representatives of academia, environmental groups, industry and business.
"It has become apparent that we cannot solely rely on traditional regulatory activities to solve the lakes' complex problems," said Francis X. Lyons, regional administrator. "Some activities will be accomplished more effectively at the community level by private citizens and local governments, while others will require more international cooperation."
Each lake has its unique concerns, but certain problems affect all the lakes such as contaminated sediments, exotic species and airborne pollutants. Many of these problems originate outside the Great Lakes basin such as pesticides blown in from thousands of miles away and exotic species stowed away in the ballast water of oceangoing ships.
The Great Lakes are one of the most outstanding natural resources in the world, containing approximately 20 percent of the fresh water on Earth and providing drinking water to more than 25 million people in the United States and Canada.
Proposed solutions include ballast water controls, use of new air pollution models to identify emission sources, pesticide clean sweeps, control urban and agricultural runoff and promotion of private stewardship of the environment.
(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)