The latest action plan for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, released Tuesday by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, would continue efforts to reduce phosphorus from farmlands entering the lakes.
Federal agencies and state, tribal and local partners have been focusing their phosphorus reduction efforts in four GLRI priority watersheds: the Lower Fox River in Wisconsin, the Saginaw River in Michigan, the Maumee River in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, and the Genesee River in New York.
The plan does not contain any new initiatives; it says “GLRI federal agencies and partners will continue to work in these watersheds, and others that need a reduction of excess nutrients, as appropriate.”
Since the GLRI was launched in 2010, funding through the initiative has helped prevent more than a million pounds of phosphorus from entering the Great Lakes, EPA said in the action plan.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition said it supports the restoration priorities in the new plan but added, “Any plan is only as good as the resources behind it,” noting that President Donald Trump’s proposed budgets for EPA all have tried to slash GLRI funding.
The group also took aim at the administration’s effort to replace the Obama administration’s waters of the U.S. rule with a new version that would “gut clean water protections for streams and wetlands.” The WOTUS rule defines what wetlands and streams are under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
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