US, Canada sign Great Lakes water quality pact

Park Point beach
The U.S. and Canada have approved an updated version of a 40-year-old pact that commits both nations to protecting the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior, seen here in Duluth, Minn.
MPR File Photo/Stephanie Hemphill

The U.S. and Canada have approved an updated version of a 40-year-old pact that commits both nations to protecting the Great Lakes.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson and Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement on Friday in Washington, D.C.

The agreement was first signed 1972. It identifies dozens of highly contaminated areas needing cleanups and calls for reducing toxic pollution and levels of nutrients that cause algae blooms.

The latest version seeks quicker action on water quality threats and includes new sections on invasive species such as Asian carp, restoring native species and habitat, and preparing coastal communities for climate change.

Jackson said protecting the Great Lakes benefits the environment and the health and economies of communities that depend on the freshwater seas.

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