EPA submits report on Great Lakes Restoration Initiative progress
With the implementation of more than 2,500 projects, the past five years have seen significant improvements in terms of water quality, shoreline contamination, and habitat and species preservation. They have also marked unprecedented coordination between federal agencies, evidenced by the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force and the Great Lakes Regional Working Group.
The Great Lakes are the world’s largest system of surface freshwater, but in the years leading up to the creation of the GLRI, the region had many contaminated areas – the U.S. and Canada counted 43 areas of concern in their 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The GRLI, however, has led to reductions in phosphorus runoff from agricultural lands and harmful algal blooms, as well as implemented efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species.
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is making the Great Lakes healthier and local economies stronger,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who also serves as the chair of the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, said. “With continued commitment from GLRI partners, we will continue to improve the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and the communities that depend on that ecosystem for generations to come.”