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).
Key -Log Economics: Ecosystem Services Assessment (Economic Study) This program of research and communication support will focus on the following:
- All of Lake Erie
- Use proven participatory research techniques with key stakeholders to refine and gain consensus around a targeted subset of key ecosystem services for detailed analysis.
- Analyze existing relationships between stressors and the supply of those key services and use results to estimate the impacts of management changes on the ecosystem service supply.
- Our research will cover economic and public health impacts of degradation of residential and commercial/industrial water quality, including as measured by medical treatment costs, municipal water treatment costs, and diminished industrial/commercial productivity.
- Effects of water quality on recreational and commercial fisheries throughout Lake Erie, and beyond recreational fishing, impacts of HABs on beach visitation, such as in Maumee Bay, and water-quality-related diversion tourist (and tourism dollars) away from Lake Erie, plus related effects on markets for seasonal/recreational real estate.
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.