Great Lakes Commission releases ErieStat to support Lake Erie phosphorus reduction efforts
The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) announced June 7 the launch of ErieStat, a website that tracks progress toward the binational shared goal of reducing phosphorus in Lake Erie by 40 percent and reports how much of the nutrient is entering the lake from select rivers. Phosphorus is essential for plant growth but also causes chronic problems in the lake, including algal blooms that have plagued western Lake Erie for years and threaten the drinking water supply for 11 million people in the U.S. and Canada.
The website launch was announced in Chicago at a meeting of leaders from the U.S. and Canada that assemble twice yearly to share progress on the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
“Our Great Lakes Commission team works hard to help state, provincial and federal agencies communicate with one voice for the benefit of our Great Lakes. ErieStat is a great example of the promise of Blue Accounting to connect data to decision-makers,” said John Linc Stine, Chair of the GLC and Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Stine noted that ErieStat demonstrates just one possible application of Blue Accounting, which holds enormous potential for additional measures of progress toward shared goals for the Great Lakes and providing key insights into Great Lakes issues.
“ErieStat allows users—which can range from the public to elected officials—to really understand the state of the lake and the binational work that is going into meeting phosphorus reduction goals,” said Jon W. Allan, Director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes, and Immediate Past Chair of the GLC. “ErieStat delivers the information we need about phosphorus reduction efforts in Lake Erie in one place.”
ErieStat is a collaboration with state, provincial and both federal governments to highlight key strategies for meeting phosphorus reduction targets. ErieStat features allow users to view seasonal and total phosphorus loads over time and at different scales. The site will be continuously updated and improved as new data and information become available. Future phases will track investments made to implement the strategies.
“As we work on both sides of the border toward a healthier Lake Erie, it is critical we have all the information we need to understand if we are making progress,” said Sharon Jackson, Deputy General Counsel at the Office of the Governor of Indiana and Vice Chair of the GLC.