09/07/2012 11:01 EDT | Updated 11/07/2012 05:12 EST

Kent announces new Great Lakes water quality agreement

Environment Minister Peter Kent has announced Canada will sign an updated Great Lakes water quality agreement with the United States Friday.

Kent will travel to Washington Friday to sign the agreement with Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The pair will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. ET.

A spokesman for Kent said in a release Friday morning that the "improved and modernized" agreement will include new measures to protect the Great Lakes water system and to address new challenges, such as invasive aquatic species.

The Great Lakes water quality agreement was first signed in 1972 and has been renewed and ammended several times since.

The agreement, which is overseen by the International Joint Commission, requires both countries to restore and maintain the integrity of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem and includes measures to deal with pollution, groundwater contamination and other threats to the lakes.