What does it mean that Lake Erie’s ‘impaired’?

(Photo: Lake Erie algal bloom at Pelee Island, Ontario, 2009, by Tom Archer, Michigan Sea Grant, via Flickr.)

The Environmental Professionals Network, a statewide professional group organized by CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, holds its first monthly breakfast program of the 2018-19 academic year, “The Lake Erie Impairment Designation: What Does It Mean and What Can We Learn from Other Watersheds?” from 7:15-9:30 a.m. Sept. 11 on Ohio State’s Columbus campus.

A look at the science and at similar waters

The speakers will look at the new designation, the science that led to it (including by scientists from Ohio State), and watersheds that are facing or faced similar challenges:

  • Chris Winslow, director of the Ohio State-based Ohio Sea Grant program and CFAES’s Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie
  • Rich Batiuk, recently retired as associate director for science, analysis and implementation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office
  • Theresa Dirksen (Grand Lake St. Marys), agriculture solutions coordinator for Mercer County, Ohio.
  • George Bullerjahn (Sandusky Bay), professor of research excellence in Bowling Green State University’s Department of Biological Sciences
  • Lorraine Winters Krzyzewski, watershed manager for the Columbus Division of Water’s Watershed Management Section

Read more about each of the speakers (scroll down).

Registration for the event is $10, or free for students, and includes breakfast. It’s open to the public.

Effects of harmful algae, microcystin

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s draft 2018 water quality report, released in March, proposed designating the open waters of Lake Erie’s western basin “as impaired for recreation due to harmful algae and drinking water due to occurrences of microcystin,” according to an Ohio EPA press release.

Previously, the press release said, only the shoreline area of the western basin and drinking water intakes had been designated as impaired.

Read Ohio Sea Grant’s FAQ about the designation.

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