Lake Erie

Taking Care of Our Coasts

Our coasts support jobs and everyday life for millions of people, and it’s no secret that we’re crowding them: more people are moving to them and more people are going on beach vacations. Coasts are also some of the most biologically rich places on Earth, including those on the Great Lakes, where fish go to reproduce and birds stop during migration.

It’s little wonder that so much demand for our coasts means that so little open coastline remains.

Here in the Great Lakes, that changed a little on September 16th when northeast Ohio’s Lake Metroparks added about 1.6 miles of coastline as a public space. When completed later this year, the park will encompass some 600 acres.

Lake Erie Bluffs-Kayaks-1

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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The Day Science Saved the Great Lakes… and Possibly the Lake Erie Water Snake

By Cameron Davis

Ohio State University’s Center for Lake Erie Area Research (CLEAR) and Sea Grant’s Stone Lab—the oldest freshwater biological field station in the U.S.—is perched on Lake Erie’s Gibraltar Island and the northwestern tip of Lake Erie’s South Bass Island. They look over Put-in-Bay and an expanse of water where U.S., British and Canadian navies battled famously 200 years ago next September. In the 1970s, CLEAR and Stone Lab helped beat back Round One of Lake Erie’s eutrophication scourge. More recently, they have proven that rare species—this time the Lake Erie water snake—can be brought back from the brink of extinction.

So, on August 2, I was excited to speak to this group at Director Jeff Reutter’s invitation about “The Day Science Saved the Great Lakes.” Of course, the title was figurative because scientific research alone can’t save the Great Lakes. And, because science is a process that unfolds over time; it can’t discover and help solve problems overnight, especially those of the magnitude we’re confronting in the region. The point of the talk was to show how science that better predicts incoming/oncoming threats to the Great Lakes gives policymakers and the public enough time to act.

I relayed “The Sad Tale of Joe Schormann,” (thanks to Dave Dempsey’s book, On the Brink) where our hero (Schormann) commissioned a study warning about the introduction of zebra mussels. Unfortunately, some seven years after the study, zebra mussels showed up in Lake St. Clair. Today, we have excellent examples of work identifying possible pathways for invasive species to get into the Great Lakes and their risk levels. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GLANSIS Watchlist funded in part by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is one example. Another is the Corps of Engineers’ GLMRIS Other Pathways Risk Assessment .

Science has an important role to play in saving the Great Lakes. Its role becomes even more important if it’s predictive and supporting key outcomes.

Has science influenced you recently in your everyday life, or made you want to change a behavior or attitude? Feel free to share it with me in the comment section. If you want to find out more about our Great Lakes restoration efforts, visit www.glri.us, or follow me on Twitter (@CameronDavisEPA).

About the author: Cameron Davis is Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. He provides counsel on Great Lakes matters, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Investing in the Great Lakes: GLRI in 2011

By Cameron Davis

Over the last few weeks, we have announced million of dollars in funding for EPA-Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant investments across the Great Lakes basin. The only way the Great Lakes will be restored is through partner organizations and agencies doing their best work on the ground and in the water.

Lake Erie has been hit hard by harmful bacteria and algae, which can choke our beaches and threaten aquatic life, which according to some estimates can cost communities around Lake Erie up to $300,000 annually per beach closure. That’s why we made our first announcement in Toledo, Ohio. We highlighted work to build and maintain wetlands that capture phosphorus and other kinds of runoff that contribute to this problem, among other projects.

In Michigan, we’re tackling stormwater and working to open up the Boardman River, the largest dam removal and modification project of its kind. The completion of this project will reconnect hundreds of miles of river with Lake Michigan.

We’ve also announced grant investments in other Great Lake States to support efforts to fight invasive species, bring back habitat, and clean up Areas of Concern. This is the second year of the GLRI and we have already seen results but we can’t stop there.

You can find a project going on near you by visiting and using the interactive map on the home page. Feel free to share your thoughts with me about Great Lakes restoration in the comment box below. You can also find out more about our Great Lakes restoration efforts at the site listed above or by following me on Twitter (@CameronDavisEPA).

About the author: Cameron Davis is Senior Advisor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. He provides counsel on Great Lakes matters, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Isle’s Well that Ends Well

Presque Isle Bay Area of ConcernAn AOR is good. An AOC, not so much.

Presque Isle Bay, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, was once declared by Pennsylvania to be an AOC – an Area of Concern, indicating contamination.

But through major improvements to the local wastewater treatment system, a change in Bay-front use from industrial to commercial and recreational uses, and some good hard work by local environmental groups, Presque Isle Bay is now an AOR – an Area of Recovery. (click on picture for more info)

But the Bay is still not AOK.

There are lingering concerns about contaminated sediment and fish tumors. We’re following the work of researchers to monitor these issues, and we’ll report back to you.

If you’re interested in learning more about this initiative, contact us.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.