Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority (LEEP)
The Commission has released the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority (LEEP) draft report, which includes recommendations on the essential elements of a plan for governments to address harmful algal blooms. Background technical documents can be viewed here. Following the release of the LEEP draft report there will be a series of public open houses in September, 2013 to share the major finding of the draft report and to receive feedback. Subsequently, the IJC will focus on implementation and governance issues. Stakeholder engagement is a key factor throughout the process.
In addition, the draft LEEP report was the focus of the Commission’s Triennial Meeting held on September 10th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Watch the video presented at the Triennial meeting here. And watch the entire session at www.greatlakesnow.org.
Under this priority, the Commission is developing a report analyzing the scientific, economic and social issues related to the causes and controls of harmful algal blooms. For example, a binational group of scientists examined the source of phosphorus loads to the lake and how climate change might affect the amount and timing of those inputs. They also assessed the adequacy of monitoring programs and the effectiveness of agricultural and urban best management practices and other alternative solutions to reducing nutrient loads. Other researchers looked at the economic impact of excess algal growth compared to the costs and benefits of potential solutions. These draft research papers were completed in 2012 and those papers informed an expert forum held in February 2013. The Commission also hosted eight public meetings to inform and engage stakeholders and the general public about its Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority (LEEP) in the summer of 2012.