Lake Erie Still Stressed, But Clean-Up is on Target
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Cleaning up Lake Erie is no easy task, but new research shows that funding for restoration is going to the right places.
A mapping project conducted by University of Michigan researchers shows which areas of the Great Lakes are under the greatest stress from threats such as invasive species and climate change. Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office, co-authored the report, which he says depicts a bad news/good news situation.
"It does indicate that there are some very highly stressed levels in the Great Lakes. The good news is that it also says the solution - that is, the funding for Great Lakes restoration - is being applied at the right geographic areas."
Buchsbaum says the mapping project revealed that the Lake Erie shoreline and its western basin are among the worst-stressed areas.
"Lake Erie is probably one of the places that's getting the greatest attention from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and from other environmental funding programs. There's a lot of money pouring into Lake Erie right now to try to address some of these problems. There's a lot left that needs to be done though, as you can tell from the map."
Buchsbaum says funding for Great Lakes restoration has been a bipartisan priority for decades, and he encourages leaders to continue their commitment to the region.
"It doesn't matter what party you are, the Great Lakes and Lake Erie in particular are vital to the health and well-being of Ohioans. Not just because of the ecosystem, but also because of the economy that depends on the Great Lakes."
More than $1 billion has been allocated for Great Lakes restoration, which has helped projects along Lake Erie which are aimed at cleaning up toxic sediment, reducing the runoff that contributes to toxic algae blooms and improving habitats.
More information on the project is available at greatlakesmapping.org.