Marine News from the Great Lakes


Published: Sunday, August 3, 2014

clientuploads/news/August 2014/algaebloom.jpgLAKE ERIE'S ALGAL BLOOM IN 2013 CAUSED ONE public drinking water system, Carroll Township in Ottawa County, Ohio, to close for several days and other public drinking water intakes to spend over $1 million in increased treatment costs to ensure that the toxin microcystin from blue green algae did not get in the treated water. This comes after the massive algal bloom in 2011 that covered 1,600 miles of the western and central basins, was over two feet thick in places, and resulted in 2.5 times the volume of algae of the preceding largest volume recorded in the lake. These blooms have a detrimental effect on lake dependent businesses and property values, and negatively impact fish and wildlife. It is clearly a wakeup call for government, researchers, businesses, environmental organizations, and citizens to join forces to reduce nutrient levels in Lake Erie.

The Lake Erie Improvement Association (LElA) was formed in 2011 in response to the algae bloom with the goal to reduce algae/nutrient loading and help address other Lake Erie challenges. LelA's mission is a Lake Erie watershed-wide economic sustainability initiative dedicated to healthy waters and fish by promoting cooperation and wise resource management for the benefit of the Lake Erie basin. LelA members are stewards of Lake Erie, the shallowest, most biologically productive, and most fragile of the Great Lakes. We are advocates for Lake Erie, which is a Source of drinking water for more than 11 million people and is used for manufacturing, shipping, fishing, and recreation. In the seven coastal counties in Ohio alone, Lake Erie helps support an $11.5 billion tourism industry. LelA members are comprised of the boating, fishing, and tourism industries; waterfront property owners; and other economically impacted parties that rely on a healthy Lake Erie.

We know that Lake Erie made a comeback in the 1970s. I am confident that Lake Erie stakeholders can once again successfully work together to realize improved water quality conditions that, among the many benefits, will foster a strong and sustainable Lake Erie-based economy that is really unique among the Great Lakes, and that contributes immeasurably to the quality of life for millions of individuals who live, work and recreate in its basin.

There is a second edition of LelA's Strategic Plan that specifies direct actions to protect and restore Lake Erie. The simplest most direct way to reduce algae is to place a ban on applications of fertilizer, including manure, on frozen ground. We also recommend continuous lake and tributary assessments, including nutrient Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), and monitoring that will produce data that can serve as the foundation for the development of sciencebased solutions. We recommend that public funds be Targeted to efforts that have the highest effectiveness for nutrient reduction, and policy and program changes, modified practices, and implementation of new technologies. This Strategic Plan identifies Actions for LelA to better serve as a lake advocate and encourages others to take actions to restore and protect Lake Erie. While our plan is primarily focused on nutrient overloads and the resulting harmful algal blooms, Lake Erie faces many other threats, including invasive species, sediments and turbidity, bacteria, water supply and use, habitat loss, changing weather and climate, and declining sport fish populations.All of these issues are connected and must be addressed through thoughtful assessment and wise management to restore and protect the ecological, environmental and economic value of Lake Erie.

Our thanks go out to the many individuals and agencies currently working for our Great Lake. I extend my gratitude to the individuals representing marinas, charter boat captains, environmental organizations, the agricultural community, private organizations, and public agencies that dedicated significant time to preparing and reviewing this plan.Thank you in advance for your continued dedication to our lake by helping to implement these critically important recommendations.

Practice Clean Boating 

By Sarah Orlando,

AS BOATERS ARE UNCOVERING THEIR VESSELS and preparing them for another fun and exciting season in Ohio, it is important to remember that certain activities, if not performed properly, can impact water and air quality. The Ohio Clean Marinas Program recommends that boaters follow “Best Boater Practices” – simple, effective actions that make a big difference in protecting our water resources. Below are a few tips to get started this season:

Clean Boating Tips for Sanding and Painting

• Use a drop cloth beneath the hull to catch sanding dust and paint drops when working over unpaved surfaces.

• Clean up all debris, trash, sanding dust, and paint chips immediately following any maintenance or repair activity. Dispose of in your regular trash at home or in designated receptacles at your marina.

• Paints, solvents, and reducers should be mixed far from the water’s edge and transferred to work areas in tightly covered containers of 1 gallon or less.

Clean Boating Tips for Engine Maintenance

• Keep engines properly tuned for efficient fuel consumption, clean exhaust, and economy.

• Keep an oil absorption pad in the bilge or below the engine to collect spilled products.

• Never dump waste oils and engine coolants on the ground or into storm drains, dumpsters, or into the open waters.

• Recycle used oil, oil filters, antifreeze and lead acid batteries.

Find more Clean Boating tips at the Ohio Clean Boater Program website, and follow us on Facebook!

The Ohio Clean Marinas Program is a proactive partnership among the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, and other public and private sector partners that are connected to Ohio’s recreational boating industry. Contact: Sarah Orlando, Ohio Clean Marinas Program, (419) 609-4120, [email protected]

tags: Environmental Impact

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