Nutrients and Algal Blooms

The Cities Initiative is working to develop Nutrient Action Collaboratives in the United States and Canada to encourage collaboration among municipalities, agriculture, industry and other stakeholders. The goal of these collaboratives is to get all sectors taking action to identify best practices to reduce nutrient loadings entering our waterways, share information on those best practices, and measure progress over time.

Current Initiatives

Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative

The Cities Initiative and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) entered into a Memorandum of Cooperation in December 2015 to develop and implement a phosphorus loss reduction strategy for farmland drainage in the Thames River basin. The joint effort produced the Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative, an initiative using land management and drainage solutions for agriculture, co-operatively with partners, to reduce phosphorus and improving water quality in the Thames River and the Western Basin of Lake Erie. By improving drainage to retain or remove more phosphorus before it discharges into waterways, this strategy will contribute to the binational and provincial 40% phosphorus reduction target under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Western Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement. For more information on the Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative, visit:

Read the latest news coverage from Farmtario to learn about the projects chosen by the PRC Collaborative. While you're at it, learn more about the Collaborative from this presentation presented at the 2019 Western Ontario Wardens Caucus.

Past Initiatives

2014 Mayors' Drinking Water Summit

In August 2014, Toledo, OH residents were advised not to drink the water for two days when microcystin, a neurotoxin found in harmful algal blooms (HABs), was detected in the city's source of drinking water. In the wake of this drinking water crisis, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and the Cities Initiative called together the Mayors’ Drinking Water Summit in September 2014. Mayor D. Michael Collins of Toledo spoke of the city's experience, and experts shared information on HABs. As an outcome of this summit, the Cities Initiative committed to working collaboratively to explore the issue of nutrient loadings in the lakes and undertake concrete actions to reduce nutrients running off into the lakes and their tributaries.

Press Releases and Letters
Resources and Agreements