The first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement established a Water Quality Board and a Research or Science Advisory Board to review and report on certain issues to help the IJC assess the progress of the agreement. It has also established a regional office for the Great Lakes to assist these bodies and the IJC in their work of agreement. While the composition of these boards has evolved over the years, the two essential elements of IJC`s work. Visit their websites to learn more about their current research priorities, reports, workshops and webinars. The Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLLEC) serves as a forum to advise and assist the Parties in coordinating, implementing, reviewing and reporting on programs, practices and actions that support the implementation of the GLWQA. The GLEC, co-chaired by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, includes high-level representatives from federal, national and provincial governments, tribal governments, First Nations, Métis, local governments, watershed management agencies and other local public authorities. A formal committee structure has also been set up to involve GLEC member organizations in binational work, in order to develop and implement measures to meet the commitments made for each of the ten themes identified in the GLWQA. From 1918 to the late 1960s, the IJC repeatedly reported, within its jurisdiction under the Border Water Treaty, pollution problems in the Great Lakes and their communication channels. These reports contained recommendations for action that served as the basis for the first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972. Canada and the United States have agreed to reduce pollution from industries and communities and limit the amount of phosphorus entering lakes, which has led to excessive algae growth, particularly in Lake Erie. New laws to reduce phosphorus levels in household laundry detergents and municipal wastewater treatment plants have been modernized or expanded.
Lake Erie has quickly recovered as a result of these efforts and the value of binational cooperation for environmental rehabilitation in all lakes has been hailed internationally as an unprecedented success. The GLWQA comprehensively addresses the priority challenges of water quality and ecosystem health in the Great Lakes, organized by 10 themes: areas of concern; lake-wide management; chemicals of mutual interest; nutrients; discharges from ships; invasive aquatic species; habitat and species; groundwater; the effects of climate change; and science. The agreement has been amended and updated over the decades, most recently in 2012, to better address the challenges facing the Great Lakes basin. U.S. states and Canadian provinces are fully involved in this process to ensure successful cooperation, and Pennsylvania cooperates with GLWQA subcommittees and working groups. Citizens are encouraged to visit the GLWQA website to learn more about the binational agreement on www.binational.net in addition, Canada and the United States have committed to present their own progress report every three years at a public forum. The IJC will review this report and its own research and solicit public contributions to the health of the lakes before publishing its assessment report, also every three years. The first government progress report was released in October 2016 and a Great Lakes public forum was held at the same time. . . .