Reducing Polluted Runoff
in the Great Lakes
Great Lakes restoration investments are reducing polluted runoff that fuels toxic algal outbreaks, but there is more work to do. Communities across the region grapple with annual outbreaks of toxic algae that pollute water, close beaches, and hurt tourism. We can’t cut funding now—delays will only make problems more expensive and harder to solve.
Federal Investments are Reducing Polluted Runoff
Federal investments have encouraged farmers to install grass buffer strips, plant cover crops, and use the proper amounts of fertilizer to nourish crops, while also funding the installation of rain gardens in urban areas. Taken together, these projects help contain pollutants and prevent them from reaching the Great Lakes. Since 2009, farm conservation has doubled in key areas like the western basin of Lake Erie; Saginaw Bay, Mich.; and Green Bay, Wis.
But Serious Threats Remain
Toxic algae outbreaks plague the western basin of Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron, and Green Bay in Lake Michigan—as well as many inland lakes and waters. These blooms are fueled by polluted runoff from farm fields. The federal government should continue to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the conservation measures of the Farm Bill, both of which pay farmers to take specific actions to keep their soil healthy and keep polluted runoff out of our waterways.
Contact Your Member of Congress
Let your members of congress know they should take action to protect the Great Lakes! Find out how to contact your senators and representative here. Tell them:
- The Great Lakes are our most important source of fresh water, providing drinking water to 30 million people. We must continue our efforts to clean and restore them.
- Although we have made progress the lakes still face serious threats.
- We can’t afford to stop now. These projects to clean up our lakes will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait.
FEATURED SUCCESS STORY
Project Helps Reduce Runoff on a Dairy Farm
Runoff from dairy farms with high nutrient levels can cause algal blooms, but the Brickstead Dairy is working to reduce the amount of nutrients that enter surface water to protect water quality.