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OFAH perspectives on renewed Great Lakes Agreement

OFAH perspectives on renewed Great Lakes Agreement

NORTHERN, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  June 14, 2021  (LSN)    Many of us fish the Great Lakes and tributaries and enjoy the other benefits like drinking water, beaches, and additional recreation that stems from them. 

When it comes to the Great Lakes, one of the key tools for Ontario and Canada to meet their objectives under the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) is the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health. More commonly known as COA, it serves to spearhead cooperative efforts on things like nutrient management, reducing plastic pollution, wastewater/stormwater management, aquatic invasive species, and improving resilience to climate change.

In general, it takes a lot to look after fisheries in Ontario – four levels of government (federal, Indigenous communities, provincial, municipal), agencies such as conservation authorities, and environmental and conservation NGOs.  Throw in the federal and state governments on the United States side of the Great Lakes and binational agencies such as the Great Lakes Fishery CommissionGreat Lakes Commission, and International Joint Commission, and there are a lot of moving parts.

When it comes to the Great Lakes, one of the key tools for Ontario and Canada to meet their objectives under the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) is the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, which is more commonly known as COA.  The COA provides a roadmap, and funding levers, for cooperative efforts on multiple fronts, including nutrient management, reducing plastic pollution and excess road salt entering waterways, wastewater and stormwater management, aquatic invasive species, and improving resilience to climate change.

The COA is made up of annexes that describe the goals, intended results, and government commitments related to 13 different areas of focus. The OFAH participates on binational subcommittees under the GLWQA* for three of those annexes (Habitat and Species, Lakewide Management, and Aquatic Invasive Species) where we discuss issues with other stakeholders and provide advice to governments on both the Canadian and U.S. sides of the border.  We are one of the few non-government organizations on the subcommittees.

OFAH initiatives such as the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration and Invasive Species Awareness Programs, are partnerships on the Great Lakes that also rely in part on COA funding to achieve their collective goals, even though it’s not necessarily funding the OFAH receives (i.e. goes towards government contributions to the programs).

An example of COA’s funding support for Atlantic Salmon restoration is this rotary screw trap that operated in the Credit River to monitor for juvenile Atlantics migrating downstream every spring.

Northern Ontario 
Kenora, Rainy River, Dryden, Thunder Bay, Terrace Bay Marathon, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, Ontario

#LSN_Outdoors 

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