Great Lakes Week is when hundreds gather to share ideas and inspire region-wide action to protect and restore the world’s largest source of surface freshwater.
This year, the week of Sept. 9-12 features two “first-ever” events in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The IJC is holding its first Triennial Meeting on Sept. 10, as called for in the 2012 update to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. And while it is the first Triennial, since the Agreement only took effect a few months ago, this session is a prelude to what will be a much bigger event in 2016.
Much of the Triennial will be focused on LEEP, short for the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority, which is aiming to tackle a resurgence of harmful algal blooms in the lake’s western basin.
A recently released draft LEEP report recommends that the Canadian and U.S. governments take action to reduce phosphorus inputs to the lake, including total phosphorus load targets for the Maumee River and the western basin of Lake Erie that are about 40 percent below average loads seen during the past five years.
Public comments on the draft are being taken until Oct. 5; open houses and public meetings also are planned from Sept. 16-Oct. 2.
The IJC also is partnering with Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to hold the first binational Great Lakes Public Forum on Sept. 9 and 10, also called for under last year’s update to the Agreement.
The intent is to receive public comments on the state of the lakes and binational priorities for science and action, and discuss progress reporting.
This Forum won’t occur again until 2016.
About 700 people are expected to attend Great Lakes Week activities.