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About Lake Erie… The warmest, most productive of the Great Lakes RED – SHALLOW, WARM BLUE – DEEP, COLD 24 62 200 5 10.

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Presentation on theme: "About Lake Erie… The warmest, most productive of the Great Lakes RED – SHALLOW, WARM BLUE – DEEP, COLD 24 62 200 5 10."— Presentation transcript:

1 About Lake Erie… The warmest, most productive of the Great Lakes RED – SHALLOW, WARM BLUE – DEEP, COLD 24 62 200 5 10

2 Lake Erie So Shallow Erie

3 Lake Erie Water Quality Trends Before 1970 Getting WorseBefore 1970 Getting Worse 1970-1975 Stable1970-1975 Stable 1975-1990 Improving1975-1990 Improving 1990/1995 to present – Getting Worse1990/1995 to present – Getting Worse

4 Phosphorus Load Reduction Targets (metric tonnes per year) Basin Estimated Loadings at 1 mg/l Phosphorus Target Load Estimates of Further Reductions Required Lake Erie13,00011,0002,000 Lake Ontario7,4307,000430

5 Lake Erie Total Phosphorous – Target Level – IJC

6 D. Rockwell, US EPA - GLNPO Lake Erie Disolved Phosphorus Sources: Agriculture Runoff Dishwasher Detergent Zebra Mussels Lower Lake Levels Lawn Fertilizers Mayfly Larvae MaumeeSandusky CuyahogaGrand Source: P. Richards, Heidelberg College Maumee Sandusky Cuyahoga Grand

7 Western Lake Erie Algae Blooms

8 Zoomed Cyanobacterial Bloom in Western Lake Erie on July 13, 2007: Stretched Natural Color Image (Left) and PC or Phycocyanin Content Image (Right, Red is 5-14 µg/liter of PC).


10 Algae Blooms 2006 Lake Erie Green Western Basin Maumee Bay

11 Phosphorous Loading 1969 29,000 tons 1985 11,000 tons(Target IJC # ) 2004 15,000 tons Soluble Reactive Phosphorous increasing since 1995

12 Why is Phosphorus increasing? Major Stormwater Problem Tributary Loading AISAISZebra Mussels Mayflies CSOs, SSOs Septic Systems OSU Reutter

13 Nutrients and organic material in sewer discharges and CSOs contribute directly to HABs and the Dead Zone, but non point loading from agriculture is the predominant factor! OSU Reutter

14 Global warming - Climate change Make problems worse! There will be : Increased oxygen consumption More frequent &nd severe storms.

15 4-3-07 Maumee Bay Its very resistant to freezing and cold weather. Its tough stuff. Once its established, its hard to get rid of it, said Tom Bridgeman, a Lake Erie researcher for the University of Toledo who said the algae has the texture of coarse hair. Its a new nuisance algae in western Lake Erie, he said. It might potentially impact swimming areas and shoreline use. Picture and article from Toledo Balde 4-24-07 Western Lake Erie has a new form of toxic, blue-green algae and this time, its a hardy one that hugs the shoreline. Called lyngbya wollei, its stringy stuff that balls up in the shape of marbles as it rises to the surface and forms thick mats along the shore. And unlike many other forms of algae, it doesnt necessarily fade away as the water cools.

16 Blue-Green Algae – Lyngbya Wollei – Maumee Bay First appearance, Fall 2006 Is on Northern shore of Maumee Bay in Luna Pier And has moved nine miles down the southern shoreline. Is massive in Maumee Bay – described as the size of a house

17 L. wollei is a freshwater benthic cyanobacterium found in lakes, rivers, springs, and water supply reservoirs throughout southeastern US capable of forming thick nuisance blooms nitrogen fixer can convert N2 to a biologically available form of N (NH3) proliferates in eutrophying waters a potentially useful bioindicator of eutrophication

18 Phosphorous Sources (In alphabetical order as proportions unknown – too much phosphorous is known) Agricultural Runoff Dishwasher Detergent Factory Farms Lawn & other Fertilizers Storm Water discharge Wastewater discharge Zebra Mussel Excretion Note – Another reason for phosphorous increases in Lake Erie is lower water levels

19 Reducing Phosphorous Studies in Maine show that 9-34% of the phosphorous discharged is from automatic dishwasher detergent Studies show that taking phosphorous out of mature lawn fertilizer has no impact on the quality of the grass – in Minnesota significant impacts on reduction

20 What Can We Do????? Get Phosphorous out of Dishwasher Detergent – get introduced in Ohio House Check off brand stores and make sure there is no phosphorous in laundry detergents Take phosphorous out of mature lawn fertilizers Monitor runoff from factory farms and other sources Local Ordinance to ban phosphorous in mature lawn fertilizer

21 Lawn Fertilizer Ban Mature Lawns State of Minnesota – statewide ban Ottawa County, Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan Muskegon County McComb County – now under consideration

22 Green Lawns, Clean Lake The Connection Between Lawn Care & Water Quality

23 Sample Ordinance Effective one year after adopted For mature lawns Does not apply to farms, gardens etc.

24 Volunteer Monitoring Target nutrients, and maybe bacteria Need to test multiple stream locations at same time and then retest periodically

25 25 Successful Programs Report and Use Their Results Data are turned into a story Results and the story are reviewed by data users and resource people Results are reported in various ways tailored to the audience Information is turned into action Monitoring is used to assess progress in meeting goals

26 26 Gain interest of volunteers Raise awareness Provide information for reductions Promote individual actions for water quality protection Provide information on places where no one else is looking Identify & solve problems locally Successful Programs Make A Difference

27 27 Compiling Information Important Questions to Consider What stream? – where does it start/end – do other streams drain into it Data will be used to determine nutrient levels The data and test are indicators and not quality controlled Variables monitored – temperature, dissolved oxygen, phosphorous, nitrates, ammonia – ecoli should be taken to lab Need funding for supplies – about $25 for 8 samples Modified from EPA Volunteer Stream Monitoring Methods

28 28 Goals and Objectives Goal (Outcomes) – what do you want to happen? Want tp determine where nutrient levels are high and look for ways to reduce the levels Objectives – Specific and measurable Less algae in Western Lake Erie To reduce the # of algal blooms Reduce phosphorus concentrations to IJC recommended level Revise as needed

29 29 World Water Monitoring Day October 18, 2006

30 30 Resources Available for Monitoring Programs:

31 31 Volunteer Monitoring List Servs Post queries see who responds – Exchanges archived at

32 32 Consider Charging for Services Greater value often placed on things with a cost Supports the program Provides stability – which can attract additional funds Can be used for match Can enhance perception of credibility

33 Lake Erie Volunteer Monitoring Several Same Stream monitoring locations No QAPP No Training Basic Study Design Assigned Segments Assessment Tip Sheets Data Sheets standardized 90


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