Since time immemorial, people have been drawn to the shores of the Great Lakes – each is unique and each has its own story to tell. Lake Erie is the smallest, stormiest, and species-rich of the five Great Lakes. Many of us have stories of time spent enjoying Lake Erie’s warm water, extensive beaches, marshland, Carolinian forest, and islands. Lake Erie’s sandy shorelines and shallow waters are a critical habitat for migratory birds and butterflies, and they nourish one of the world’s largest freshwater fisheries. Twelve million people depend on the Lake Erie watershed for their drinking water.
However, Lake Erie’s problems are also well known. Over 150 years of industrialization and urbanization have taken their toll on the lake. The most significant issue facing Lake Erie currently is harmful algal blooms (HABS) caused by agricultural pollution.
In 2017, a trio of environmental organizations under the name “Lake Erie Alive”, launched #WeAreLakeErie day. This is a day to celebrate what we love about the lake and show that we all believe it is deserving of protection and restoration!
While governments in both the US and Canada have committed to addressing these issues. we need to see more concrete action. In 2018, Canada and Ontatio pledged to reduce phosphorus entering the lake by 40% by 2025; however, no significant progress has been made. Again, this year, the federal government committed $420 million over 10 years to protect and restore the Great Lakes – with a focus on cleaning up the remaining Areas of Concern and addressing nutrient pollution on Lake Erie. Freshwater Future will continue to work with our partners, including the agricultural community, to make sure, that this time, the necessary actions and policies are put in place to make real progress on phosphorus reduction.
Adding your stories and pictures to the wave of support that is #WeAreLakeErie day is an important first step. Join us as we work together to save Lake Erie.
What YOU can do to help Lake Erie!
- Share your photos of your experiences with Lake Erie on Facebook and Instagram with #WeAreLakeErie!
- Engage with local groups that are supporting Lake Erie such as local Conservation Authorities, Land Trusts, and sustainable agricultural organizations (EFAO, Innovative Farmers, OSCIA, Ontario Soil Network).
- Let your local, provincial, state and federal politicians know that the future of Lake Erie is important to you and encourage them to take concrete action on the Canada-Ontario Action Plan for Lake Erie and implement the Memoranda of Understanding on Lake Erie signed by Michigan, Ohio and Ontario.