US and Canada sign pact to fight eutrophication and lake pollution in the Great Lakes

9 September 2012

Not many will remember the bizarre event back in 1960 when the Cuyahoga River – which flows into Lake Erie, became so polluted that it actually caught fire.  This event catalysed a whole raft of efforts to improve the lake’s water quality – which were highly successful but not sustained, such that Erie is these days appearing again in reports about pollution.  The most recent outcome has been the signing of  a pact between Canada and the USA to work towards improving the conditions in the Great Lakes.

The pact calls for further action on problems that inspired the original agreement three years after the embarrassing river fire and a second version in 1987. It pledges to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity” of the five lakes and the portion of the St. Lawrence River on the U.S.-Canadian border.

In Washingon State, algal problems have been reported for the Columbia River above Wells Dam.   In Kansas, Lake Scott State Park joins McPherson County State Fishing Lake on the states advisory list. Area lakes remaining on the warning list issued Thursday included: Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County West Park Lake, and Memorial/Veterans Lake in Great Bend.

The death of yet-another dog in the USA has been associated with the algal bloom in Red House Lake (NY). In Oklahoma, fifteen lakes have algal reports posted for them.

In the lake state, Wisconsin, the UW-Stevens Point Center for Watershed Science and Education and citizens and staff in Adams County, with the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers, are spearheading a nutrient pollution monitoring effort on the Wisconsin River between Tomahawk and Lake Wisconsin.

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