What is the Lake Superior Binational Forum?

Started in 1991, the Lake Superior Binational Forum is composed of twelve Canadian and twelve American stake-holders representing industrial, Tribal/First Nations,  business, environmental, recreational, tourism, health, labor, and academic interests.

Lake Superior is unique. It is a vast resource of fresh water that has not experienced the same levels of development, urbanization and pollution as the other Great Lakes. Because of this uniqueness, the International Joint Commission recommended that Lake Superior be designated as a demonstration area where discharges and emissions of toxic substances that are long-lived in the environment and build up in the bodies of humans and wildlife, not be permitted.

The Lake Superior Binational Forum is part of the broader Lake Superior Binational Program to Restore and Protect the Lake Superior Basin as agreed to by all state and provincial governments around Lake Superior as well as by the federal governments of Canada and U.S.A. The program is focused on the entire ecosystem of Lake Superior, its air, land, water, human life and wildlife. Funding for the Binational Forum is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  The forum helps to implement critical priorities of the Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) including outreach and education campaigns on pollution prevention, aquatic invasive species, mining, and other issues.

The Forum has held various technical workshops since 1991 for the purpose of acquiring necessary background information to help develop proposals for phase-out schedules and reduction recommendations. These recommendations on critical pollutants, for example, may be found in the Stage 2 Lakewide Management Plan. Workshops have been held on mercury, sustainability indicators, PCBs, pesticides, and land use, to name a few.

The Forum has also carried out Public Input Sessions centering on Lake Superior’s environmental Areas of Concern (AOC), invasive species, the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area and other topics. Additionally, the Forum has partnered with other organizations to carry out projects related to habitat, pollution prevention and public outreach.