International agreement to protect Great Lakes updated
London Community News
Representatives of Canada and the U.S. signed an amended version of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Friday (Sept. 7) meant to protect the lakes against growing threats such as aquatic invasive species, habitat degradation and the effects of climate change.
Canada’s Environment Minister, Peter Kent, and Lisa P. Jackson, an administrator for the U.S.’s Environmental Protection Agency, signed the amended agreement in Washington, D.C.
The 40-year-old agreement was last amended in 1987 and is meant to protect the lakes and the health of communities surrounding the bodies of water through restoring and maintaining “the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters.”
Revisions in the agreement will allow Canada and the U.S. to take action against “threats to Great Lakes water quality and includes strengthened measures to anticipate and prevent ecological harm,” a media release from Environment Canada states.
Canada and the U.S. have pledged support through the updated agreement for continued work on existing threats to people’s health and the environment in the Great Lakes Basin, such as harmful algae, toxic chemicals, and discharges from vessels.
The governments of both countries sought extensive input from stakeholders before and throughout the negotiations to amend the agreement, the media release states.