The Lake Erie Foundation has a five-year strategic plan to sustain and improve Lake Erie water quality and habitat. Two primary goals to reduce harmful algae in Lake Erie are:
- Determine the sources and amounts of nutrients followed by an accountable, reportable nutrient reduction implementation plan. The best framework for this is to follow the Clean Water Act: Impaired/Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) /Implementation process that is leading the process for harmful algae reductions in Chesapeake Bay and the Fox River/Green Bay.
- Reduce manure runoff into Lake Erie by requiring that the phosphorus soil content requirement for manure spread on agricultural fields be the same as for commercial fertilizer. Currently, manure applications can be 150 parts per million phosphorus soil content compared to the commercial fertilizer maximum of up to 40 parts per million (also known as the agronomic/crop need rate).
To support this initiative, identify and benchmark a host of impactful indicators, LEF hired the University of Maryland to conduct and complete the following study in 2019.
University of Maryland: Western Lake Erie Report Card Project
This project will begin the process of creating and scoring a report card for ecosystems in Western Lake Erie. The primary objective is to conceptualize the system and identify potential indicators and available data for synthesis into a report card. The end goal is to produce results in the following areas:
- Recommendations that are distinct from other efforts
- Geographically explicit
- Include both watershed and Lake Erie
- Communicate results widely.
There are many organizations and agencies associated with these studies that transcend communities along Lake Erie’s coastline both in the United States and Canada.
Many thanks to the City of Toledo, City of Oregon and Lucas County for funding such an important effort.