Toledo, OH – The Lucas County Commissioners, as part of a coalition of conservation groups and local elected officials throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin, offered their support of a list of strong recommendations to reduce phosphorous entering Lake Erie by 40% in the next ten years per a recent commitment by Ohio Governor John Kasich, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and Province of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The coalition of conservation groups included the Ohio Environmental Council, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Sierra Club, Freshwater Future, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and the National Wildlife Federation.
In a recent letter to Governor Kasich the coalition outlined a series of implementation measures to effect this 40% reduction by 2025. Among many other strategic recommendations, the coalition advocates for a state implementation plan by October of 2015 with a period for public comment; a process to identify sources of phosphorous and other pollutants; building on existing monitoring work to establish measurable water quality goals; and regular public reporting on the progress of this planned reduction.
“The coalition’s proposed implementation strategy aligns firmly with key recommendations in Moving Forward: Legal Solutions to Lake Erie’s Harmful Algal Blooms,” said Commissioner Carol Contrada. “This report, released by the Board of Lucas County Commissioners in April 2015, offers a complete toolkit to reduce pollution in Lake Erie with solutions at the federal, state, and local levels. It is encouraging that Lucas County and conservation groups are taking consistent steps in the right direction to save Lake Erie.”
Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak offered the following statement: "It will take strong community partnerships to implement strategies to clean up Lake Erie, which is what Clear Water 2 aims to do. Clear Water 2 is a partnership between Lucas County and The National Wildlife Federation to facilitate the collaboration and information sharing we will need to eliminate harmful algal blooms. Clear Water 2 will also assist in implementing the Lucas County Source Water Protection Plan. The Source Water Protection Plan, currently being developed, will provide Lucas County with a framework to do all we can to protect out drinking water in Lucas County. Both initiatives will be instrumental in hitting our phosphorous reduction goals and cleaning up Lake Erie."
"The Board of Lucas County Commissioners recognizes the importance of this reduction in phosphorous and the urgency of accomplishing this for the protection of Lake Erie. I further support the University of Toledo’s Lake Erie Wetland Restoration Project which aims to reduce dissolved phosphorous through a cutting edge, organic system utilizing zebra mussels. These processes alone could represent a significant reduction in the 40% goal immediately," said Commissioner Pete Gerken.