Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs) stem from the 1987 amendments to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, originally signed by the United States and Canada in 1972. This agreement committed both countries "to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem." To meet this commitment, the two governments agreed to develop and implement LaMPs for open lake waters and Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) for specific geographic Areas of Concern (AOCs). LaMPs are intended to identify critical pollutants that affect beneficial uses of the lakes and to present strategies, recommendations and policy options to restore those beneficial uses. LaMPs for lakes Erie, Michigan, Ontario and Superior have been developed with guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada.
The Lake Ontario LaMP serves as a plan of action to restore and protect Lake Ontario's waters and shores. The LaMP addresses four specific problems in Lake Ontario: restrictions on eating some fish and wildlife; wildlife populations affected by toxic chemicals; reproductive problems of bird/animals; and loss of fish and wildlife habitat. The Lake Ontario LaMP provides a way to better coordinate the work of the agencies involved. The LaMP also presents the opportunity to establish and strengthen partnerships between private and public efforts to improve the Lake Ontario ecosystem.
The Lake Ontario LaMP management structure consists of a Coordination Committee, a Management Committee, a Lake Ontario Workgroup, and the Public. There are other agencies that have an interest in the LaMP, such as natural resource and human health agencies, and their involvement on specific issues is an important component of LaMP decision-making. Responsibility for ensuring this participation lies with the Management Committee.
The LaMP provides an opportunity for a number of agencies to work in partnership toward a common goal - restoring Lake Ontario for future generations.