The 6th annual social media event draws attention to the challenges Lake Erie is currently facing
Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – As Lake Erie continues to be plagued by annual and often toxic algal blooms, Ontarians are answering a rallying cry on social media to demand urgent action to protect the lake and drinking water for millions of people and many complex ecosystems.
August 31, 2022 is the 6th #WeAreLakeErie Day. Throughout the day, social media users will be sharing their Lake Erie stories and photos using the hashtag #WeAreLakeErie to help create a virtual wave of support for the lake. The event is a chance to demonstrate to decision-makers the important role the lake plays in the lives of so many people.
Time is of the essence and the trend for toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie is not getting any better. One of the biggest issues causing these blooms is nutrient pollution. Too much phosphorus is entering the Lake Erie watershed and eventually making its way to the lake itself. This is largely due to runoff from farms when it rains. Heavy rainfall events increase the amount of phosphorus running off into the lake.
Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted a “mild” bloom but that was only due to dryer spring weather conditions. Once heavier rains hit in July, NOAA readjusted their forecast to a 4.5 – 5.5 out of 10. Blooms that have a severity of more than 5 are more likely to impact drinking water sources. This level of bloom can also suffocate fish and other aquatic life in the area and make it unsafe for people to use the water for summer fun activities like swimming and paddle boarding.
The federal and provincial governments need to do more to address the plight of Lake Erie, including:
- Addressing environmentally harmful farming practices, such as the overapplication of fertilizers: We need governments to ensure there is widespread adoption of farming best management practices. So far, voluntary measures have not seen great uptake by the farming community.
- Being transparent and accountable about the progress being made to protect the lake: They’ve already committed to reducing phosphorus levels by 40% by 2025, but it is unclear what kind of progress we are making.
WHAT: The 6th annual #WeAreLakeErie Day hosted by Environmental Defence Canada
WHEN: Wednesday, August 31, 2022, All day
WHERE: Online. People will participate by sharing their Lake Erie stories and photos on social media with the hashtag #WeAreLakeErie.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Lauren Thomas, Environmental Defence Canada, lthomas@environmentaldefence.