On Tuesday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler unveiled his 29-page Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan III in a windy Detroit.
There has been a lot of collaboration in developing the plan Wheeler calls “ambitious but achievable.” Eleven governmental agencies, many states, tribes, and other nonfederal stakeholders have been involved in developing the GLRI plan. Wheeler is also coordinating with our neighbor to the north to restore the Great Lakes
“I’ve met with my counterpart Minister [Catherine] McKenna [Minister of Environment and Climate Change] three times and her deputy to talk about the Great Lakes and joint efforts we can do to get the Great Lakes restored completely,” he said. “Canada’s on board, we’re on board.”
The five-year plan has five focus areas. Part of that seeks to prevent introductions of invasive species, educate the next generation about the Great Lakes ecosystem, and reduce nutrient runoff from agricultural watersheds. Administrator Wheeler says agriculture has been at the table when making this part of the plan.
“We want to work cooperatively with the farmers,” he said. “We’d rather work cooperatively with the farmers then come in with a hammer and beat them over the head as past administrations have done.”
According to the restoration plan, there has been more than one million pounds of phosphorus runoff reduced from farmlands.