On June 18, 2019, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Collaborative submitted a 10-year, $100 million-a-year Action Plan to protect the Great Lakes (Action Plan 2030) to Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, and Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Honourable Rod Phillips.Following a nine-month engagement process, the Collaborative’s Expert Panel, supported by Issue Table members, stakeholders, and Indigenous advisors, have proposed recommendations to tackle four complex challenges facing the Great Lakes: climate change and flooding, toxics and other harmful pollutants, nutrients contributing to harmful algal blooms, and bacteriological contamination of beaches.
To protect Great Lakes shoreline communities and ecosystems, the Collaborative recommends providing direct assistance and funding to municipal and Indigenous communities in shoreline resiliency priority zones hardest hit by extreme flooding and erosion associated with climate change.
Toxic and Other Harmful Pollutant:
To reduce exposure to toxics in the Great Lakes region, the Collaborative recommends actively identifying and investigating human and environmental exposure to toxics and other harmful chemicals, and requiring more immediate and dedicated action to reduce exposure.
Nutrients and Harmful Algal Blooms:
To accelerate reduction of nutrients causing harmful algal blooms, the Collaborative recommends harnessing the power of big data to identify hotspots and work with landowners, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and others in priority areas or properties that contribute the most.
Beaches and Bacteriological Contamination:
Using a risk-based approach, the Collaborative recommends identifying beaches with chronic bacteriological contamination problems, and requiring action to clean up the source of contamination, including untreated sewage.
The Collaborative has identified the need for Government of Canada, in collaboration with the Government of Ontario, to invest in and deliver on 15 critical actions to protect the Great Lakes and those who live in the region. Through Action Plan 2030, investing in the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes will provides immediate and long-term benefits. The Collaborative recommends all governments and relevant partners commit to delivering on this innovative and bold action plan to protect the Great Lakes.